technology

Do Daleks use toilet paper?

18 April 2014

I have been watching some (very) old Doctor Who episodes, including the first ever serial featuring the archetypal villains, the Daleks. In this story, the Daleks share a planet with their long-time enemies, the Thal. After a war culminating in the denotation of a neutron bomb, both races experience very different mutations. The Daleks have […]

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Qantas and Adobe

9 November 2013

In my last post, I complained about the approach Qantas has taken to password security for its new Qantas Cash website. When I called Qantas to express my concerns, my query was referred to the “technical team”. I was assured they would be able to assuage my concerns. Here is the email response I received: […]

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Security can be tricky

27 October 2013

Qantas has recently launched Qantas cash, a pre-paid Mastercard which you can charge up with cash in multiple currencies. The contemporary equivalent of traveller’s cheques, cards like this can be as convenient as a credit card with the added advantage of reducing the uncertainty associated with exchange rate volatility. If you have a rough idea […]

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ngramr – an R package for Google Ngrams

16 July 2013

The recent post How common are common words? made use of unusually explicit language for the Stubborn Mule. As expected, a number of email subscribers reported that the post fell foul of their email filters. Here I will return to the topic of n-grams, while keeping the language cleaner, and describe the R package I […]

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Can I trust MtGox with my passport?

12 June 2013

In March 2013, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCen”) published a statement saying that companies which facilitate buying and selling of “virtual” currencies like Bitcoin constitute “money service businesses” and are subject to reporting obligations designed to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes. A couple of months later, the seizure by US authorities of Liberty Reserve has shaken money service […]

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BitTorrent Sync

8 June 2013

I have been a long-time user of Dropbox. It synchronises important files across computers, provides offsite backup and remote access to these files. But it does have its limitations. A free Dropbox accounts gets you 2 gigabytes of storage (although persuading friends to sign up can earn you an an increase in this limit). If […]

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Image searches

12 July 2012

This week’s edition of Media Watch, “Pixelating protects identity? Think again“, examines the threat image search engines pose to anonymity. Drop a disguised photo into Google images and the chances are you will find the original in the search results. Intrigued, I thought I would try it out. The pixellated the photo of Tom Waits […]

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Unblock Us

18 September 2011

A few months ago, I complained that more and more online music sites have blocked access from Australia. Of course, the arcane licensing of intellectual property has also led to many other sites being blocked for Australians. Anyone living down under trying to access BBC TV via their iPlayer, or trying to stream US TV […]

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Off the rails: mag-lev personal rapid transit

21 August 2011

I have not been thinking about blog posts much over the last week and a half: on the 11 August my closest friend died and his memorial service was a week later. However, I have received a guest post from a new contributor to the Stubborn Mule: Norwegian academic Trond Andresen from the Norwegian University of […]

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Irony

9 March 2011

Last year I wrote about one of the more amusingly ridiculous attempted spam comments intercepted by my blog’s spam filter. It may be genius, stupidity or just an excellent coincidence, but a comment spammer has now attempted to add the following comment to that post: There are actually loads of details like that to take […]

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