Cinema Paradiso

The co-ordinator of the international film festival gave me this tee shirt. Although it is cinema in a tropical paradise, it reminds of the great Italian movie Cinema Paradiso. I quote Wikipedia:

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is a 1988 Italian film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. It was internationally released as Cinema Paradiso in France, Spain, the UK and the U.S.

It stars Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, Leopoldo Trieste, Marco Leonardi, Agnese Nano and Salvatore Cascio. It was produced by Franco Cristaldi and Giovanna Romagnoli, and the music was by Ennio Morricone along with his son Andrea Morricone.

Cinema Paradiso was a critical and box-office success and is regarded by many as a classic. It is particularly renowned for the famous 'kissing scenes' montage near the end of the film. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1989. The film is often credited for reviving Italy's film industry which later produced Mediterraneo and Life is Beautiful.

Just like in the movie Cinema Paradiso, the Lovely One and I go to the National Gallery and we watch movies outdoors under the stars. There is nothing like it for a theatre.

(non-technical readers can depart at this juncture)

The rest of the blog entry is a total non-sequitor. I just want to put some tech solutions that have helped me this week. They were problems that stumped me, and the fixes were simple.

The first was that I had installed Apache Tomcat J2EE container from scratch, with the Windows Installer to install the service. When I went to start the Tomcat service, I got the error message:

" The Apache Tomcat service terminated with service-specific error 0(0x0) "

For more information see Help and Support Center at microcrap.crap.

The quick fix to this is to copy the file msvcr71.dll from the bin dir of your java installation, to the bin dir of the tomcat installation. Voila !!!!

Secondly I checked out a project out of a repository and I got the following Eclipse IDE error:

" This project needs to migrate WTP metadata "

Clicking on the Quick Fix didn't work. What did work was to go to the .settings directory and delete everything. Exit Eclipse and re-start it. Everything should be fine. These tips were lifesavers for me this week.

Giving it away -- Page Rank

Spring is gone. These flowering trees are almost done for.

A couple of daze ago, I read an article on how Google does its page rank. Apparently everyone starts out with a page rank of 0.15. You increase page rank by other people linking to you. If a page links to you, you get a portion of their page rank (divided by how many pages link to you) but the portion of page rank is also divided by outgoing links. So if a high page rank links to you and they have a lot of links, then you don't get much of a their page rank.

So in a spirit of generosity, I am giving away my page rank, or diluting it if you will. I use Blog Patrol to measure hits. The following list is the top blogs using Blog Patrol. The numbers after the URL is the number of hits that they have had since beginning to count. Since I am linking to these blogs, I am diluting page rank. But I don't care. This whole blog thing to me, is one big experiment anyway, and so far it is beyond expectation for me.

Some day, I will analyse the subject content of the most popular blogs, but it seems to be sex, celebrities and music. Without further ado, here is the canonical list of Blog Patrol's Top Blogs:

1 27190990
2 22998927
3 13887991
4 13405001
5 13204694
6 10445296
7 7195391
8 6592512
9 5612813

10 5518529
11 5365989
12 3718287
13 3558612
14 3513708
15 3268931
16 3166526
17 3002730
18 2572776
19 2544467
20 2522265
21 2512412
22 2486789
23 2455298
24 2440714
25 2372602
26 2169499
27 2072311
28 2044620
29 2036055
30 1906465
31 1842516
32 1820254
33 1735661
34 1688882
35 1633645
36 1572342
37 1567937
38 1473351
39 1460674
40 1460622
41 1421448
42 1380144
43 1364767
44 1339492
45 1307403
46 1279170
47 1271272
48 1267623
49 1245533
50 1213268
51 1179281
52 1164333
53 1140020
54 1136889
55 1104569
56 1093697
57 1042281
58 1034979
59 1030905
60 1023433
61 1015428
62 1000438
63 964804
64 962072
65 953354
66 947900
67 938502
68 924607
69 896847
70 891638
71 845710
72 843204
73 797474
74 786614
75 776375
76 761696
77 753343
78 739819
79 714848
80 706649
81 699727
82 688931
83 685192
84 662584
85 659335
86 654238
87 644828
88 637561
89 634705
90 627345
91 623023
92 608576
93 595453
94 585174
95 571143
96 570935
97 563931
98 561820
99 557017
100 548857

First Ever All Inclusive Island

Ever since Hurricanes Frances and Jean, visitors to Freeport have fallen off. To boost the numbers again, the Ministry of Tourism has come up with the concept of an island-wide all inclusive vacation. This will be tested next month on Grand Bahama.

It pleases me to report that our company was chosen to electronically process the transactions that enable the concept, and that I architected and wrote much of the code to do so.

Freeport is one of my favourite places anyway. I spent a fair amount of time there in my youth, and it feels good to be doing something good for the place.

Swine Flu Epidemic

The swine flu epidemic threatens to become a pandemic. In the interest of public safety, we have posted some rare pictures of swine flu.

Please be careful because swine flu is now proven to have crossed the species barrier. They said that this had the same chance of happening as when pigs would fly. See !!!!

Various Life Hacks

Negotiating the razor wire of life

In no particular order, here are some life hacks that I have discovered:

Getting to the front of the line in Starbucks:

Go right to the cash register. Apologise to the person next in line. Get the attention of the clerk. Tell her that you are a DEA agent. You have been staking out a house in the neighbourhood for the last 11 hours, and the SWAT team is on its way for the takedown. You need a coffee quickly.

Disarming a Hostile Crowd in the Caribbean:

You are a racial minority going through a hostile crowd trying to organise a union in the huge hotel complex. You are carrying a briefcase, and it is obvious you are a management type and not a worker. Simple. To disarm the crowd, you face them squarely, smile and say "Good Afternoon". They are so conditioned to this politesse, that they will automatically respond with Good Afternoon as well. Problem solved.

Get Served Quickly At Ben and Jerry's:

The tourists are all lined up for a hundred feet. The line snakes out the door and into the pedestrian mall. You don't care what kind of ice cream, as long as it is cold. Go in through the out door. Stand there for a minute or two. You will notice that the cashier has long lulls, because people are slow at choosing what they want. When the cashier is not busy, go up and order the ice cream on a stick that he gets from a display behind him. You get your ice cream without waiting.

Starting Charcoal without firestarter:

I collect coconut matting, coconut husks and small twigs and branches and puts some above and below the charcoal with some newspaper dribbled with cooking oil. Light with a match. Let the fire burn and flames die and the charcoal is lit nicely.

I am still working on the ultimate life hack -- ducking the death thing.

Third World Countries and Resistance to Development

I was in a strange part of town, because the car needed repair and the BMW shop was across town. As I was walking to the East-West Highway, I saw this piece of paper and idly picked it up. A kid named Garrison (I blanked out his last name) who is in Grade 7-4 was the author.

This first thing that struck me was that someone in Grade 7 cannot spell mathematics (see the red arrow in the pic). There is a popular TV show that pits adult contestants against Grade 5's and let me tell you, someone in Grade 5 can certainly spell mathematics.

The second observation, was the ease of the questions. A grade 7 math problem should look like this:

Three ducks and two ducklings weigh 32 kg. Four ducks and three ducklings weigh 44kg. All ducks weigh the same and all ducklings weigh the same. What is the weight of two ducks and one duckling?

The Ministry of Education in this country does standardised testing and the average hovers around F to D-.

The country is developmentally resistant. There are many reasons for this, but the prime reason is government corruption. In these islands, there is no penalty for bribing voters, absconding with public funds or graft and corruption on public projects. The government wants the people fat, dumb and happy so that they will not have the mental wherewithall to recognise what is going on.

In a previous blog entry, I noted Lawrence E. Harrison's determinants for developmentally resistant countries. They are:

  1. Degree of identification with others in society – radius of trust or sense of community
  2. Rigor of the ethical system
  3. Attitudes about work, innovation, saving and profit
  4. The way authority is exercised within the society.
In the tropics, there is tribalism, cultural laziness, monolithic economies and slack ethics throughout the entire fabric of society.

Tribalism takes on many forms. It is the government official granting a contract to his family. There is also another form called Black Crab Syndrome, where when a Black person gets in a position of authority or achieves a higher level, he jealously guards it, instead of giving others a helping hand to his level.

The cultural laziness is not limited to the Black population. We have the mañana attitude of the Latinos where why do today, what you can put off until tomorrow. My belief that this is related to the populace's ability to own land. In Canada and the US, where anybody can aspire to own land, there is no mañana attitude. If you can work, you can achieve something real. This is not true in Third World Countries.

Monolithic economies such as found in these islands also holds back people. 75% of the economy is tourism, and the jobs are all low level service jobs. It is a bedmaking economy. Such a monolithic economic doesn't let people escape unless they find a way through corruption, shady business dealings, running drugs, or strangely enough, starting a church.

The slack ethics are disgusting. The former Minister of Immigration took a Rolex watch as a bribe from Anna Nicole Smith to fast track her residency. He resigned, but was not charged despite the fact that it was bribery and that crime exists on the books here. Instead he was re-elected as member of Parliament. The previous government regularly told the people not to believe what their eyes were telling them, but to swallow the official propaganda, and many did.

I believe that the ethical slackness, is again due to economic marginalisation and the inability to pursue the American Dream. When you put corrupt governments into the mix, development will never happen. These islands are all ex-colonies of Great Britain. They were shed by the UK because maintaining them was a money pit. They could never maintain themselves. As independent countries, they are expected to do so, but do not have the revenues. And what revenues they bring in, are squandered by corruption, inefficiencies and incompetence.

This cycle will not change until one of two things happen. The first is a total economic collapse, and a will to rebuild something better. The second is the election of a totally altruistic government. There is a third option, and it just happened to the Turks and Caicos after the corruption of Michael Missick. That option is for Britain to repossess the colony to get it back on its feet.

Boat Laundry

Living on a boat seems like a romantic idea. It is the dream of one of my colleagues. Our real estate agent here in the tropics lives on his boat. It all sounds fine and dandy, until you consider the details. Laundry is one of them. There are no dryers and washers unless you are on a super yacht. You have to hang your laundry anywhere you can find the space on a boat. Consider these pictures.

It looks so ghetto to hang your laundry on any available space. Laundry is just one consideration. There are many others.

For example, suppose you have guests on your boat, and you are suddenly hit with a major bout of gastro-intestinal distress. You run to the head, do your business, and soon the whole boat knows it, because they can smell it.

Or suppose that you have your kids aboard, and you wish to get amorous with your wife. Totally out of the question.

Living on a boat, to me, isn't as romantic as it sounds. It seems like a good idea if you are a loner. If you need company, it is a yacht or nothing.

Feast in the Forest

We were prepared for a quiet Friday BBQ of some steaks that the Lovely One acquired, when the phone rang and the opthalmic surgeon who is the president of our company offered us some tickets to the Feast in the Forest.

I am a member of the National Trust, but we had decided to pass. The Feast in the Forest was held at the Retreat, a piece of tropical paradise owned by the trust in downtown Nassau. It is a botanical garden, an aviary, a conservation area, and a secluded piece of heaven in bustling New Providence. The free tickets were the inducement that we needed.

It was an amazing magical night. The theme was Sherwood Forest and there were many Friar Tucks, Maid Marions, archers and various medieval revellers in costume. There were ministrel groups, bands, and a magic act. A pig was roasted. Ribs and chicken were grilled. Corn was roasted in the husk. There where many many different kinds of pastries. Free mojitos were supplied all night. A local scourge on the reef, the lion fish has invaded the Caribbean from Asia, and there was a cookery that offered fried lion fish. It is delicious and tastes like grouper.

The crowd was incredibly eclectic, and the conversation was stimulating. We watched a limbo dancer play with fire and limbo under flaming bars the height of a man's shoe off the floor. I had a discussion with a businessman who ran an economics institute following Von Mizes economics and libertarianism.

I chatted with a group of refractive surgeons who have developed a new type of laser eye surgery that is not invasive. We chatted about the interstitial exta-cellular matrix of the endothelial cells of the cornea and the physics of water under coherent light stimulation. It is supposed to be the great new thing that cures presbyopia.

We talked about a popular local businessman and private banker who was hit execution style by a scorned gay lover. A European woman who was the worse for wear with drink flitted in and out of the conversations. We talked about the publisher of the local gossip rag -- The Punch. We laughed about the fact that I would not volunteer my new Sperry Topsiders as props for the burning limbo bars.

We had an amazing Friday night. As we were leaving, an opthalmic surgeon from Texas asked us if we did the Feast in the Forest every Friday night. Alas no, but it would be a great idea.

Cartomancy Again -- Five of Clubs

I don't believe in fortune-telling. I do not follow my horroscope, or horrorscope. It is extremely bad luck to be superstitious.

However, as I walk home from work every day, the omens and portents are blowing around me. I find cards all over the place. They are casino discards. There are two casinos in this tropical burg and many many casino workers. The workers bring home the cards that have finished their useful life in a casino. The casino denotes the discards by punching a hole through them. I bet that they buy a big, powerful, expensive punch to do the job. Playing cards are tough. I could do the job with a Smith & Wesson .44 and I would do it for free.

Many superstitious folks use playing cards like tea leaves to try and see the future. Man if this were true, the answers to life, the universe and everything, is blowing in the wind for me. Just last night I found the five of clubs.

According to various internet sources, this is what my find yesterday represents:

  • Represents a desire for freedom and independence that makes you go against the status quo. Fives can signal a time of nervous energy, challenges and conflicts with others, and adventure and impulsive actions. Fives also suggest travel and expansion as well as fluctuations in many areas of life. (PS - I am travelling to France shortly)

  • You are asserting yourself and your freedom. A desire for independence and exploration. A comparison of strength. Seeing things differently from others and embarking in a battle of wills or competition. Sports or exercise and the need to release physical energy. Facing new challenges that make you aware of new abilities.

  • The suit of clubs speaks to us of what kind of determination we use to achieve our goals. How much energy we use to get the things we want. It shows what obstacles stand in our way or what obstructions hold us back. The anger that runs thru us and how one might deal with it. Clubs speak of great energy, of speed. They are a powerful suit dealing with ones career and the goals one sets sight on. When clubs come into play, one must move quickly and not rest on your laurels. When the opportunity is there, take advantage of it. Sometimes a club is simply a warning to slow down and not expend so much energy. The suit of clubs are ruled by Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Dealing with new beginnings, ones pleasure and ego and how we gain knowledge and understanding.

  • Help from a friend or spouse. New friends and a successful marriage.

  • The five of Clubs calls for someone new to enter the picture, a new friend or a successful liaison with the opposite sex.

  • Five of Clubs: New friendships are made. A romantic time for close relationships. Social life is harmonious.

  • 5 ~ Dentist, getting dental work done

  • The five is a marriage card, usually representing a happy future for both parties.

Well it seems that this is an energetic, romantic time with dental work involved. I tell you, I may get more than my teeth drilled by the Lovely One if I meet a new, romantic interest.

Content Analysis -- Garbage

The above is a stretch of sidewalk less than a block from my house on Paradise Islands. To the left just barely visible is the Cloisters, pieces of a 12th century monastery that Huntingdon Hartford, the A&P heir dismantled from France and brought here. It is part of the exclusive Ocean Club, where James Bond "Casino Royale" movie was filmed.

I was walking home from work, thinking of nothing in particular and I passed this garbage bin:
Just steps further there was another one:
I idly snapped the pics, and immediately thought of Content Analysis. It is a concept that was invented by the OSS spy agency during World War II. By examining the minutiae, detritus, and flotsam of peoples lives, you can tell what is going on. Modern day private detectives do this when they go through a target's garbage.
So I carefully examined the photos and made a list:
  • Juice x 3
  • Vita Malt
  • water x 3
  • Coke x 4
  • Grits x 2
  • Kleenex
  • Milk
  • Plastic bags
  • Zip Loc
  • Paper Bag
  • Styrofoam meals x 4
  • Beer x 10
  • Newspaper

Beer is the clear winner here. Next is styrofoam meal containers. These are not fast food, but in these islands, a woman will cook peas 'n rice and pork chops and sell it in styrofoam from the trunk of her car. The grits are for breakfast and the meals come from styrofoam. This is obviously the trash from the staff that works at these resorts.

VitaMalt is also ubiquitous in these islands. It is a sugary, malt flavoured drink that tastes like a bowl of sugared breakfast cereal. It is considered a health tonic here.

So from what I can gather, there are tourists here and support staff going by these bins. The tourists drink a lot of beer, and the support staff tote their lunches. Drinks are big in the hot climate.

See -- content analysis really does work -- except that I could have figured out those facts without looking at a lot of dirty garbage.

The interest fact is that all of the garbage is in the bins. This is not the case anywhere else on these islands. However, as the Lovely One points out, we are living on the set of Jim Carrey's "The Truman Show".

Web Analytics -- Time of Day

I idly glance by the web analytics as they go by on this blog. I barely look at the graphs. However last night, my attention was grabbed by the above graph. You can click on it to get a larger image.

If I were a webmaster, and I was scheduling podcasts or webcasts, I would want to know what time of day to reach the largest audience. The graph points it out vividly. Eleven AM and Eleven PM respectively are the winners. A full 8.3% of daily visitors come at 11:00 AM and 8.2% come at 11:00PM.

Between 5 and 6:00 PM is busy, and I get the nighthawks or international hits between 12 and 1:00 AM.

The quietest time is 5:00 AM (good to know for scheduling backups) and in the evening it is the 7:00 PM mark.

They say that the crowd is generally always right. So I can infer that the crowd likes elevens. Snake Eyes!

Search The Web Privately

Do you like your privacy? Google by far is the largest search engine on the planet. Every time that you submit a search term, your IP address is recorded, along with your search terms. And a cookie is placed on your computer.

What does it matter? Well, Google extensively data mines the information and sells it. It uses it for advertising. Data mining can be used to predict your behaviour, feed you ads, and if you click, they have modeled your behaviour accurately. On top of that, if they have your IP address and you are at home with a static IP address, they know where you live.

So along come Scroogle. It is googling in privacy. What it does, is takes your search term, strips all of the IP info, submits it to Google and returns the result to you. Then they burn their logs. It is an outfit from San Antonio Texas.

To learn more about Scroogle, go here:
To start searching anonymously, go here:

And if you are worried about your boss watching the search terms go to Scroogle, you can use the SSL link here:

Total search anonymity.

Scroogle accepts donations for their services and you can get a tax receipt for the United States.

Rasta Shoppe

I pass this Rasta Shoppe every day on the way home from work. It is a little hole in the wall. I have often wondered what the proprietor sells. I have a fertile imagination, and we all know what makes things fertile. So I let my mind wander and muse about the contents of the shoppe.

I am willing to bet that he has a little pharmacy back there. I speculated about the types of farmaceuticals that he has and came up with this list:

  • IbuSmokin -- an analgesic for pain relief
  • RastaMattazz -- an appetite stimulant
  • TetraPsychoLean -- an antibiotic to chase away the "bugs" crawling over the skin
  • DreadLax -- taken for regularity
  • RastaMasta -- a viagra substitute
  • AttaVan -- an anxiety suppressant to stop worrying about vehicle trouble
  • DreadLock -- a powerful medicine that curls your hair
  • RastAssured -- a sleeping pill
  • OxyContinue -- a pain killer
  • DopeAmine -- self explanatory

The funny part is that while this is a limited inventory list, all of the farmaceuticals come in plastic bags and they look like baggies of oregano.

Ghetto Prom -- Arrives in a Casket

In terms of hits, this blog was made when I posted pics of a ghetto wedding reception at McDonalds in Nassau, opposite the British Colonial Hilton Hotel. Well, a student at St. Georges High School in Freeport in the Bahamas topped that one. She arrived to her ghetto prom in a casket.

Here the fake preacher intones the prayers for the dead.

Complete with mourners and wailers.

Wait, the dead arise.

The date shows up and escorts her off.
These grainy pics are from a cheap cell phone camera. I believe that this will appear on Youtube as well.

Le pêcheur de snapper

This scene somehow reminds me of Les pêcheurs de perles, and the Bizet opera of two friends Zurga and Nadir. In this case, one friend runs the fish stand (or more accurately, the conch stand) while the other one fishes for the dinner in the harbour.

This scene also reminds me of a time when I was in Freeport. It was in the evening, and I had nothing to do, so I took my fishing rod and went to fish off a rock jetty. There were some boys there fishing as well. Instead of rod and reel, they had their line wrapped around a coke can. They had a bit of bait, and for sinkers, there was a lug nut or two from a car wheel. They spun the line over their heads like a set of bolos and perfectly timed a release with facing the coke can outwards.

The line peeled off as smoothly as it did from my fishing reel, and they thumbed it gently until it splashed in the ocean. They were experts with their homemade equipment.

I cast into the ocean, and hooked a grouper foraging near the rocks. It must have weighed six or seven pounds. I brought the fish to shore, and immediately the boys surrounded me to take a look at the fish.

I unhooked the fish, and was about to return it to the ocean. Their eyes got big as saucers. I then saw that what was sport for me, was serious business for them. If they didn't catch anything, they and their family went hungry.

I unhooked the fish, and gave it to a little boy who was looking wistfully at my grouper. He didn't have any fishing equipment at all. I can still remember to this day, the pure unmitigated joy on his face as he hoisted the fish and ran home with it.

The fisher in this pic is fishing for snapper in the harbour.

Frayed Edges of Paradise

In various blog entries, I call this land a paradise. And in many of the entries, you see vividly coloured happy pictures and high adventure. Today's entry is a series of photographs that show the frayed edges of paradise.

This country is in fact a Third World Country. Infrastructure is decaying, horrible, and of poor service and quality. Cell phones are expensive and calls are dropped. Phone services are inconsistent. The island loses half of the water out of the pipes, and this is serious when they have to barge in 6 million gallons a day from a neighbouring island to survive.

The electrical utility does load shedding, or turning off the power to certain sectors of the island when demand is high. Those sectors are not the rich sectors.

The traffic lights do not work. Some of them have not been working for a year. Here is a picture of a pothole that is axle-deep.

A friend of mine contends that the poor conditions of the road are deliberate to keep the people down. I was at a National Trust meeting, and the director of Marine Resources pops up a slide with a traffic light graphic on it. He quipped that it is not on the flash cycle (the usual state of all traffic lights) and as a result, the islanders may not recognise it.

Poverty is endemic and in spite of the provisions and appearance of a social safety net, it really doesn't work. Poor people beg in the street and the elderly beg on the streets as well:

The islanders do not own the beaches, hilltops or prime real estate of the islands. That belongs to rich foreigners and resorts. Hence there is little regard for the environment, for keeping things clean and for a sense of pride in the community. There are trash heaps like this all over the island.

There are huge social problems as well. This island of 225,000 people had more murders than the city Toronto, Canada of over 2 million people. Three quarters (75%) of the families consist of single parents (mothers) with children from more than one man. Drug use is endemic. Here is a picture of the police making an arrest of a young man:

There are other social factors. There is a rabid, almost cultish form of religionism where the preachers fleece the flocks and fly private jets. Becoming a minister is a means of getting rich, and the people cannot see it. A banker friend tells me, that the bank staff meeting opens with a prayer. This is totally inconsistent with an investment bank milieu. It is almost if the people are backward when it comes to religion.

The Lovely One, who has worked with the levers of power in a first world country, decries the governance of these people. Most of the frayed edges of Paradise is due to poor governance, and again the people seem blind to it. The online local forums have these praisers of the country as the best little country in the world. Yet the MPs are criminals, the founder father was one of the biggest drug runners in history, and every cabinet minister of the last government siphoned off public funds to enrich themselves, and yet they are rabidly re-elected over and over again. Either the people are blind, ignorant or apathetic.

This country has huge potential, and unfortunately, most of it is unrealised.

Ghetto Cats

These feral cats who hang out on our patio have become not only incredibly tame, but also incredibly fat as well. They are living La Dolce Vita on Paradise Island.

When we arrived here they were a mangy, scraggly bunch who would hunt down a small dog when they were really hungry. Now they let the pigeons and ring neck doves eat their food without batting an eyelash.

In the early days, we used to find blood and feathers on the patio as the kitties would take down the birdies that discovered that cat food is a fine free lunch. Now they can't even be bothered to bat an eyelash. You can see there thought process: "Live and let live. There is plenty more food where that came from."

They have morphed from self-respecting predators on the top of the food chain, to unemployed ghetto cats, continuously on the dole. The thing that gets me, is that they get genuinely annoyed when a human disturbs their 12 hour power nap.

Screen Magnolias

Spring flowers are almost done in this land of perpetual summer and we are moving into the heat of the season. Last week we had the final blast of flowers from the Magnolia trees around the island. The flowering trees on the way to Clifton were magnificent, and the petals of the spent flowers rained down like a perfumed snow.

Note: You have to click on the pic to see a bigger image. It is worthwhile!

This magnolia blossom is on a tree across the street. After I photographed it, I looked at the image on my big screen of the computer at home, and the range of nuances of the colour was breathtaking. Everyone should look at photos on a big, high resolution screen.

That got me to thinking about what screen resolutions that folks actually use. If there was a clear winner, his would be a help to webmasters when they designed their pages. I decided to examine the server logs of the last 1000 visitors to one of my websites. Google analytics collects these metrics. Here is the result:

Obviously over 50% of the visitors use either a 1024x768 or 1280x1024 screen resolution. I feel sorry for the ones using an 800x600 screen. That is so 1990's.


Bikini Atoll is located in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is quite famous. The United States conducted nuclear testing on Bikini. They exploded atom bombs both in the atmosphere and I believe under the ocean.

Because of the widespread press, fashion designers began calling the skimpy two piece female bathing suits, the bikini. Bikini conjures up tropical in a big way.

Bikini also is a registry of convenience for super yachts. This week there were two yachts in the harbour registered in Bikini in the Marshall Islands. The first was "Unforgettable". The second one was a real mid-life-crisis, small-male-organ called "Man of Steel" that was over 100 feet long.

Of course, these registries are registries of convenience where the filing requirements (and other considerations like safety and environmental) are minimal.

The other interesting and ironic thing, is that because of the nuclear testing, Bikini is totally uninhabited by human beings. Yet ships are registered there.

It doesn't end -- a new Karla sighting

This Karla Homolka story keeps getting legs. It just won't quit. In earlier blog postings (you can read the whole mess here: ), I speculated that Karla Homolka/Leanne Teale's hideaway in the "Antilles" was in Guadeloupe.

Well, it didn't take long. I got this message in French:

J'ai vu qu'un femme qui ressemble à Karla Homolka sortez d'une maison située sur la route de Boisvin dans le village de Les Abymes. Plus tard j'ai vu la même femme sortir d'un marché aux puces dans la ville de Le Gosier sur la côte sud de Grand-Terre.

A translation reads:

"I saw a woman that resembles Karla Homolka leaving a house on the Boisvin Highway in the village of Les Abymes. Later, I saw the same woman leaving a flea market in Le Gosier on the south shore of Grand-Terre."

There is no mention of when this took place. Grand-Terre is the big upper island of Guadeloupe, and the airport is in Point a Pitre. Les Abymes is northeast of there.

I don't know how accurate this sighting is.

Nassau Nights

I had a late meeting at work last night, and I walked home over the harbour bridge. Previously, I was fooling around with the menu on my digital camera, and I had discovered a feature called "Long Time Exposure".

This was totally new to me, so when I was at the apex of the bridge over the harbour, I decided to try some long time exposure shots at night.

The first one is looking down at reveller's at a conch stall drinking beer and eating conch salad: (click on the pics for a larger image)

Further on down, two men were playing checkers:

And finally, I turned around and got a shot of East Bay Street at night:

This long time exposure thing adds another dimension to digital photography artistry.

Anti-Chinese Rant

Even the catfood from China is spiked with poisonous melamine.

In a previous blog entry that was picked up by CNN, I detailed how the Chinese state had attempted to hack my servers. You can find the text here:
My ire is up again. In a country that employs thousands and thousands of censors, you cannot put up a private web page without getting noticed. So when I get spam from a Chinese portal, you have to come to the conclusion that is state sponsored as well.

I have another innocuous blog of my highschool days. I got a spam comment on it. Here is the text:

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Provided 2 0, 00 0,000 registered members with the best reservation service.

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2, Big payback We can give you big payback if you join us, we give more money than the present Adsense Unions.
3, Easy to earn money People come to our site and give a reservation by click the advertisement on your site; we will give you much money.
For every 100 effective reservations we will pay you 60 US dollars. When the total reservations reach 500, we will pay you extra 100 US dollars as rewards. More and more preferential policy expects your participation.4, Convenient management BackgroundYou can see the proceeds of each time and it is clearly visible in your convenient management background. We can ensure your benefits.5, Good reputationWe have high reputation of our union; any of you can be relieved to join.

If you are interested in our Adsense Union, please click to register your account.

Any other questions please contactMiss Wu YingyingMarketing Department China Service Mall

This is a blatant ripoff of Google's intellectual property. Google is the originator of AdSense.

This state-sponsored thievery has to be stopped. I saw a news item where the Chinese government pirated NEC products, and even built a factory to manufacture counterfeit NEC CD players and consumer electronics.

The Chinese rip off and counterfeit everything from Rolexes to Gucci. Nothing is sacred to them. It is obvious that they do not respect us. Nor should they get our respect. They are a rogue nation who do not respect international laws or human rights, and as long as the current Chinese regime is in power, they are a blight, no make that a cancer, on the altruistic side of humanity.

Addendum: Up north every year, there is a Christmas Craft Sale. On particular artisan made quaint cottages carved from wood and decorated as if it were a cabin in the snowy woods. He would spend hours making them. At the Craft Sale, he sold one for $60 dollars to a Chinese trade envoy. Six months later, cast plastic copies were in the dollar stores.

One Man's Scrap, Another Man's Gold

I work strange hours, and yesterday (Easter Monday), I had some tasks to do before the work day today so I walked to work over the harbour bridge. I noticed the rust stains of the above boat, and from a distance, it looked like a garbage scow.

As I got closer, it became obvious that there were two boats, loaded to go to Haiti. Haiti is perhaps one of the poorest countries outside of Africa. Political instability and endemic poverty has reduced the population to eating mud cookies (cookies made of margarine, mud and salt) to fill the stomach and appease the hunger.

When I took a look at what they were sending back to Haiti, I was amazed. Most of it would be considered garbage. There were many, many discarded stained mattresses that were weathered. There were vans and vehicles that were junk and could no longer be repaired by any mechanic's skill. There was bicycles and empty 5 gallon containers by the hundreds. There were bundles of clothes discarded by the salvation army. There was broken furniture, and building supply remnants. There was discarded carpets.

It had appeared as if the Haitians had been garbage picking for months to load up these hulks to be sent back to Haiti. It even appears that one of the ships has to be towed by the other, as the engines do not seem functional.

As a Caribbean company, we are trying to leave positive social footprints where ever we operate. Leaving positive social footprints in a country like Haiti is extremely difficult. There has to be an answer somewhere to help failed states, and to succor the humanity that they hold.

Another Lucayan Artifact

The beach pictured above is a historic beach. For about 1000 years, starting at 500 AD, the Lucayan Indians lived on this beach. In a previous blog entry:

I told of how I found an ancient Lucayan artifact. Not recognising it as such, I tossed it back into the water. Later on while reading an interpretive sign nearby, I found out what it really was. I was dismayed that I couldn't find it again.

Easter Sunday, some friends of ours and the Lovely One and I spent a wonderful day at the beach. We had a barbeque, swam, snorkelled and vegetated in the wonderful sunlight.

This time, I deliberately went looking for Lucayan artifacts, and I believe that I have found one. A nearby interpretive archelogical tableau showed a picture of a stone pendant that the Lucayans wore, and I found one. It is a rounded piece of rock with a hole drilled laterally through it. These are pics of my Lucayan artifact:

The beach is also the location of the Plantation of a British settler named Lewis who built the plantation house below in 1785. By 1800 he had exhausted the soil with cotton and moved away leaving the plantation deserted.

Natural Easter Candy

Easter Candy is no longer on my breakfast menu for Easter Sunday, but this fruit was. It is the tropical sugar apple or custard apple, and it is the equivalent of candy. (Click on the sugar-apple tag below to learn about this fruit).
Eating this fruit with a cup of coffee is the equivalent of having custard and apple pie for breakfast. The fruit is creamy, smooth, sweet and tastes like a cross between custard and apple pie.
I feel like I have eaten a pound of candy, and yet it is a sugar trip without guilt.

Sandra Bullock Look Alike

We wanted some lunch on Good Friday and most of the places were closed in this tropical burg. However there were four cruise ships in the harbour, so I knew that some of the places downtown would be open.

We sat in the lovely Mediterranean Olive cafe, ate bistro food and watched the tourists go by. A young woman sat opposite us, and she looked vaguely familiar. The reason was that she was a young Sandra Bullock look-alike.

Here is the real Sandra Bullock for comparison:

Upping the Ante -- New Weapon in the Ant Arsenal

We are at constant war with the ants on our patio. There seems to be an endless supply of the little buggers. We use Clorox bleach against them, but that only lasts a couple of days. I have discovered another weapon to add to the arsenal of chemical weapons against ants.

That weapon is fake Windex. The True Value brand is pretty effective. I discovered ants have a swarm launching new queens on the side of the house. I needed something quick and the only available weapon at hand was the fake Windex. I began spraying and to my surprise it killed ants dead in their tracks.

Upon closer examination, it only killed some of the ants instantly, but it was a satisfying number. I would be pleased if it severely ticked off the rest of them so that they went away. As you can see, the spray bottle is now empty, and none of it went on windows.

In the photograph above, I thought that the local gossip rag would make a good backdrop for the weapon of ant mass destruction.

Please follow this link to see the rest of my "Ants" posts:

Children's Haberdashery With French Toast

The flight was hellishly bumpy. As an past aviator, I rarely get airsick, but I did this time. The aircraft was a 30 year old de Havilland Dash 8. I used to watch them at the Rockcliffe STOL port (or ADAC Port as it was known in French). The seat pocket in front of me was horribly torn. On the return trip, the port side landing gear had tandem wheels and one of the tires was completely bald.

The flight was 35 minutes each way. In the morning, my alarm was set for 4:15 AM. It was the Lovely One's birthday, and I wasn't scheduled to arrive back in Nassau until 7:30 PM. And the local carrier is notorious for being late.

Our main meeting in Freeport ended earlier than anticipated. It was 1:30PM and if I rushed, I could make the 2:30 PM flight. A fellow director of the company dashed me back to the airport. I was put on standby, and at 2:15 PM, I got my boarding pass. I dropped the last two quarters that I had into the phone and called New Providence. The Lovely One was not home, and I left a message on the answering machine saying that I would be home at 3:30 PM. The plane didn't depart until 4:00 PM.

I sat in the only available seat. It was at the front bulkhead facing backwards. I have never flown facing backwards before. The air conditioning was not working. This propeller driven plane flew at 13,000 feet. It was a hot, bumpy, noisy ride. I was slightly airsick and had a headache.

We landed and I walked across the tarmac to the terminal. I hailed a taxi and discovered that the taxi fares had gone up, and I had only enough money to get downtown. The driver let me off at the British Colonial Hilton. I had a dollar bill left, and they wouldn't give me change to phone home.

I walked among the tourists downtown. I contemplated walking home over the bridge, but I had my shiny black business shoes, and I still had a bleeding blister on the big toe from the last time that I walked home in them. A kindly woman in a cigar shop gave me change for my last dollar. I phoned the Lovely One, and she was going to meet me at Elizabeth and Bay Street.

As I walked to the rendezvous, I saw the above sign. I thought that I was hallucinating. Lingerie, children's wear and French Toast. I peered in. There was no food counter anywhere. I snapped a pic of the sign, thinking that I would figure it out later. I still haven't. The discombobulation from island hopping has left, but the mystery of the sign remains.

How To Ace The Blogsphere

Flight into Paradise

Technorati ranks blogs. The first time that I became aware of this, was when I googled my own blog and discovered that I was ranked 2,631,291 out of over 7,000,000 blogs and with the number rising each day. I thought that it was pretty good. I was already in the top 35%. My whole reason for starting the blog, was to document my life adventure in the tropics.

Since I have had the blog, I decided that it would be an experimental vehicle as well. I would try to do things that would raise my ranking in the blogsphere. I have done things to attract and retain readers. To get an idea of some of, click on the "web page stickability" tag. But for the most part, I have just written was has passed in front of my eyes. My whole tropical adventure is eye candy of one type or another.

I have been incredibly lucky as well. Michael Jordan plays his Celebrity Golf tournament on Paradise Island a block from my house. I caddied for the celebs and my pics got me a pile of hits. The biggest page views from that, is my pic of the wedding ring that Fergie gave Josh Duhamel. And speaking of Fergie, the Earl of Wessex, his Majesty Prince Edward shows up to these island and I print the invite that I got to the dinner.

Then the local paper printed that a Canadian serial killer is on the loose, and when I reported that, I got another pile of hits and lots of cross links. I also got pics of a wedding reception held on a West Bay Street McDonald's fast food joint across from the British Colonial Hilton hotel that garners me hits every day.

I was even lucky when the Chinese government tried to hack my servers. I printed the DNS and IP lookups, and CNN picked up my blog on their news site.

But the single biggest jump that I got, was when I printed a pic of the sandwich board of Anna Nicole Smith's tattoo parlour here in Nassau. The Daily Parr ( picked that story up. The net result was that I now have two authority points with Technorati the blog raters, and I have climbed 893,722 rankings in the blogsphere. In a couple of weeks, I will have jumped over a million rankings.

My advice to ace the blogsphere, comes from Monty Python. There tag line was "Now for something completely different". This blog embodies that. I go from Chinese hacking to celebrities to source code dumps to humorous pictures. Variety is the spice of life. Variety is interesting, and interesting gets you hits. It is as simple as that. I have been lucky in the fact, that since moving to the tropics, my life has become incredibly interesting. One must also remember that a Chinese curse is "May your life be interesting". Interesting is a double-edge sword.

To my complete astonishment, this blog has taken on a life of its own. As long as it does, I aim to have a Technorati ranking of less than a million. Time will tell.