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Weblog Archive Cutedge

by: Bernard Teo

Creative Commons License

Copyright © 2003-2012
Bernard Teo
Some Rights Reserved.

Sun 03 Apr 2005

How Soccer Explains the World

Category : Commentary/SoccerExplainsTheWorld.txt

I've just finished this book, "How Soccer Explains the World" by Franklin Foer, subtitled, "An {Unlikely} Theory of Globalization".

It didn't seem to get great reviews at Amazon, but I enjoyed it all the same. (One man's meat and all that...)

I'm soccer-mad (or at least I used to when I played it regularly but those days are long gone) and it did set me thinking.

For example, Foer describes a scene from a Celtic-Rangers game where Rangers' Italian defender Lorenzo Amoruso (who's now with Blackburn) celebrated a Rangers goal by turning to the Rangers' supporters and egging them on in their chanting and baiting of Celtic's Catholic supporters.

I know, as most soccer fans do, that Celtic and Rangers occupy opposite ends of the Catholic/Protestant divide. I've watched that scene on TV.

I've often been transfixed by the intensity of the commitment, these Glasgow derbies, and I've been lucky to catch the games a couple of times when the soccer was so much fun.

Now what I didn't know, though I should have guessed, was that Amoruso was Catholic, as Foer mentioned in his book, and he also described what Amoruso's Rangers/Protestant fans were chanting at that time. I couldn't hear it, of course, on the TV. So it was interesting to have the scene described from this other angle. What must have been going on in Amoruso's mind?

This book may not have reached anywhere near its goal - of explaining the state of the world through soccer - but it's a good book to read for a soccer fan who has at least an interest in the rest of the world. It's a different kind of soccer book, for sure.

Sometimes I think I know all about the Catholic/Protestant divide, having been brought up by Protestant aunts, ruled over by a staunch Buddhist matriarch for a grandmother, and, to complete the triangle (and my utter confusion), parents who were Catholics. In the midst of this three-cornered fight, I learnt to trip safely through the minefields of the religious wars from an early age. That's how I ended up a Taoist. I walk the middle path. And I attended Catholic schools all my life! So it's with some sadness to mark the passing of the Pope. May he rest in peace.

Posted at 5:18PM UTC | permalink

The Weightless World

Category : Commentary/weightlessWorld.txt

Looking through the log files, with my new-found ability to decipher which country the hits are from, in the last two hours, Postfix Enabler has been downloaded by people in Japan, Sweden, France, United States, Canada, and Spain.

These bits are flying all over the place. If only I could do that myself - de-materialise, shoot through the ether, and re-appear at the other end in seconds. That would be a great way to fly.

Posted at 3:59PM UTC | permalink

WebServer Monitor 1.0.6

Category : Technology/WebServerMonitor106.txt

I love the way the Mac OS X Cocoa API's work. It has, what I call, expressive power. You could think of an idea and find the constructs in Cocoa to express them and make them come alive, and it doesn't fight you or make you go through hoops. It's great.

I'm now just one step away from being able to do customisable log formats (if I can figure out how the interface should work). And being able to allow the user to set up the webserver, the way Postfix Enabler allows you to set up mail services.

Setting up PHP would be trivial. But setting up WebDav - that will allow you to use the webserver to store and share your iCal calendars, and from there, you'll start to see how all these little elements start to work in concert.

This 1.0.6 release will pave the way because it will give me the framework to turn features on or off the webserver in an orderly way, again much like Postfix Enabler.

This release also brings you, in conformance to the Apache "combined" log format that I'm adopting, the ability to track virtual hosts, traffic in the form of bytes served, status of hits (success or re-direct or page not found), as well as the ability to show or hide columns selectively.

You can download it now and use it while I figure out how to do the interface for customising the log format (among other things).

It'll still only read the log records from /var/log/httpd/access_log, though. Sorry, but if I solve this, I may be encouraged to think further about how to read the log records from anywhere else.

One more thing, WebServer Monitor will show only the records that have come in since you updated it to track the new log format (essentially the "NCSA extended/combined log format" with the addition of the virtual host field - "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-agent}i\" %v". For the ones that came before, it will (should) politely ignore them.

What's next - provide a way to filter by virtual hosts, and by page views (rather than page hits), and to show only the downloads. And the customisable log format stuff. And who knows? Stats and graphs - once I've learned how to draw graphs with Cocoa. Or figure out a way to accept plug-ins, so other people can supply the graphs.

Joe Mullins sent over some suggestions, including a mock up of how it all might work. Thanks. Step by step. I'll try to get there.

Posted at 3:33PM UTC | permalink

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