Listen to what is going on in the background conversations...


Masters and Slaves

In Electrical and Electronic engineering the term master and slave is often used in conjunction with circuit design. It is a favourite design pattern, a master, say a computer, controls a bunch of slaves, say a bunch of monitoring devices. The master might poll each device in turn and the slaves would respond with whatever data they are collecting.

In a technology I work in, Frame Relay, the calling end of the telecommunication data circuit is called the master and the called end the slave, using this same thought process. In a similar vane, for backup purposes you can have two slaves, a slave with backup and a backup slave. In fact, you can have a whole series of backup slaves. This is used say when you have one remote terminal trying to connect to two redundant data centres. You would connect to one, and if that one was down, then you would connect to the other.

So it has nothing to do with whips and chains if you hear me talking of masters and slaves. Though I would be amused if you did think of whips and chains.


LOS = Loss of Signal

In the industry I work in LOS means loss of signal, though strangely Wikipedia does not understand this.

Los may refer to:

LOS may stand for:



Quite some time ago, I decided to try out a housing agency. (Melbourne in the late 1980s.) I had no experience of one. So I paid my $50 and filled in the various forms. They suggested a house in Collingwood. The men, I am guessing were gay, though I do not think that this was an issue at the time. I decided I did not like the house itself for a few reasons, it was very cold, as old terraces sometimes are, but mostly because it smelled of mildew. I think it had a major rising damp problem. When the woman asked why I did not like the house, I said that it was because it was smelly. I am guessing that this is the source of this strange story.

After that there were stories that I did not like gay people. Which at first I just ignored as it was plainly wrong. But they persisted for quite some time.

When I came back to Melbourne in 1992, a man in a pub on Exhibition Street and a Telstra employee, made a big deal once of smelling the seat of a woman who had just left.

Fast forward. When I arrived in Sydney in 1997, people made all sorts of comments about not liking smelly people. At first I just thought that this was some bizarre way the people in Sydney think. There are plenty of others, but then I have never really fitted into Australia. Though that is another story. People would say thinks like, we disliked so and so because he was smelly. Even my sister joined in on the act. She thinks that people in the CES who were queuing were a problem because they were smelly. Even last week, someone said, I (that is the person speaking) am ok, I am not smelly.

So, what these people (that is people who are not me) think by smelly and what I think by smelly are not the same think and I am very dismayed at the mountain that people have made out of a mole hill. But I have to say that it is typical of this line of thought and this is not the only thing that falls into this category.

As I said some years back, take what they say and know it is wrong. Take the opposite of what they say and know that it is also wrong. I do not like or dislike people because they are smelly, though I would object if someone had not been having a shower. The smelliest people I ever met were some hitch hikers on the south island of NZ. They had been hiking for a week and I gave them a lift back to a near by town. They had not had a shower in a week. They reeked. But it was not offensive, just a bit overpowering.



HSSI is pronounced hissy, this is a type of interface used in data communications. It stands for High Speed Serial Interface. It was never common, and is becoming less so. We used to have some in our network and you would hear me on the mobile phone talking about HSSI connections. Of course it is hard sometimes not to make a linkage with a hissy fit.


wierdness about middle names

I come from a Chinese Malaysian background and spent my early life in the newly separated Singapore. For chinese people middle names are a vital part of our name and are freely told to everyone. In fact when we are more formal, we use our middle names. My name is Yap Voon Yee, or yewenyi in Mandarin. Yap Voon Yee is in Hokkien.

So I was very surprised to find, when I came to Australia as a 5 year old, that Australians are afraid to tell you their middle name. They are embarrassed or even hostile if you ask. They give all sorts of excuses from not wanting to sound like a snob to bank security. It is totally weird.

For the best part of a decade, I looked on in stupefied confusion at this at this weird behaviour. Then one day, I discovered why Australians hate their middle names. I was watching a school friend and her young child. I have seen this behaviour several times since with other people. When the child was naughty, she scolded him by calling out his name in full. So the real reason is: Australians do not like their middle name because they associate it with being a bad person. If they tell you their middle name, they give you power to scold them. Of course, this is an unpalatable thing to do.


uncles and aunties

In the culture where I come from, Uncle and Aunty are often used as an honorific. If you have adults who are close friends of the family, they are honoured by calling them uncle and aunty. So it was a bit of a shock when I discovered that people here in Sydney think that calling people uncle or aunty is a term of derision. It seems that they think that people who do this are gangsters.


the opposite of smart

It seems that they have only just worked this out. Certainly lots of people are talking about it.
In my mind, the opposite of smart is stupid.
Now, I know that most of these people don't think this. But they must be bit slow to think that I think of it in the same way as they do. Here is a definition from Wikitionary. Strangely their version of smart does not seem to form part of the English language.


Definitions from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



From Old English smeortan, from West Germanic *smertan, whence also Old High German smerzan.



smart (comparative smarter, superlative smartest)

  1. exhibiting social ability or cleverness
  2. exhibiting intellectual knowledge, such as that found in books
  3. good-looking, as a smart outfit
  4. cleverly humorous, in a way that is rude and disrespectful however; wise guy.
    He became tired of his daughter's sarcasm and smart remarks.




let the good times roll!

Obviously the opposite of a good time is a terrible or bad time. Anyone who does not like good times is weird and strange.


U.S. officials say broken satellite will be shot down

Quoting NEWS.COM: They are shooting it down because:
President Bush ordered the action to prevent any possible contamination from that hazardous rocket fuel on board, and not out of any concern that parts of the spacecraft might survive and its secrets be revealed, officials said.

The fuel tank is believed sturdy enough to survive re-entry, based on studies of the fuel tank that fell to earth after the shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. Officials said that the slushy frozen fuel would have then been released wherever it came down.

"This is all about trying to reduce the danger to human beings," said James Jeffrey, the deputy national security adviser.
Of course, we believe every word of it!