Just sayin' is all

Marines, we are (possibly) LEAVING!

Thinking of shifting web hosts so this site, such as it is, may disappear for short periods. Don’t get me wrong, Pair Networks has been absolutely flawless in their service and I’ve been thoroughly happy with them these last nine (!?) years, this is more an exercise in consolidation.

I know what you’re thinking, how will I get by without my daily fix of “Baily still hasn’t written anything in his blog, the slack bastard.”

Well, here’s how.

See you out there.
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In email late last week.

"Hi Paul & thanks for your order - For Today (Best of) (Netherworld Dancing Toys)I'll bill your card $US 16.95 (approx $AU 18.75) when your cd ships tomorrow."

squee!
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Do Not Adjust Your Picture.

Just tooling around with alternatives to Haloscan commenting since they’re shutting down next week.
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Hello, and good evening. Again.

Happy new year, hope you’re going well!

So, where the hell have I been the last couple of months? (Like you missed these posts!)

Short answer: FaceBook.

Yes, that’s right I dabbled in to the social
notnetworking thing and entropy led to just posting inane crap over there instead of spending the odd Doogie Howser moment over here. But this is 20162010 and things are gonna change around here. Y’hear me? I said things are gonna- oi! Just move that mouse away from that YouTube tab...

Anyway, to get back into the blogging groove, I’m going to do what all good series do, and do flashbacks. Yes, flashbacks.

Y’see, back when Radio Baily first made it out of the motherland, the calendar had everything scribbled out up to 10 June 2003 and the Radio Baily part of the site started out being written in an app called iBlog. It was a quirky app but it got the job done. Problem was it was written by a one-man-band, and as such operations are wont to do, this band up and moved on to other projects leaving iBlog in limbo - to the point that the last version out was an unfinished beta that couldn’t even publish an existing site, let alone export elsewhere. No, chuffed wouldn’t quite be the word I’d have used.

Anyway, spilt milk, no point etc. That time is past so time to cut losses and finally put the old iBlog version of this tale to rest. Or more rather merge it into this one. It’s a copy/paste job (did I say chuffed?) so it won’t happen overnight, but you should start to see the older entries appear in the left column.

For obvious (to those who know me) reasons, this won’t be the whole archive. No point in that.
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and so we say farewell to the good ship Warthog.


warthog

Yes, that's right, we let the Warthog - Kathy's faithful steed - bound off to fairer fields today. An awesomely reliable, tenacious vehicle that probably behaved better even when it was suffering than most cars half its age would when healthy. And let's not forget that it faithfully brought the fair maiden Kathy to me.

It'll likely be powering Subaru Brumby's around these here parts for quite some time. Or be turned into a paddock basher, either way, all good.

In its honour, I leave you with this fond memory:



...and before you ask, the successor is indeed worthy, and in line with anti-stalker policy shall remain unidentified. Winking

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A Thousand Angry Hornets


You might want to turn your volume down for this:










That's what it sounds like in our primary data centre right now, thanks to a UPS transformer doing its best
Hypnotoad impression. You can hear it two floors away.

Oh, and guess who sits just one wall away?

That's why you'll usually find me wearing these:

cx300

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Excellent point.


John C. Welch over at
Bynkii has said this before, and each time he says it I keep wonderinig why other people don't get it.

This idea that if you aren't locking your site down tighter than Fort-fucking-Knox, you deserve to be attacked. It's exactly the same as blaming a woman for getting raped because she wasn't dressed like a nun and living with her parents[...]


Go
here for the whole thing.
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Two years.

Stopped smoking two years ago today.

Yay me!
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Been a while.

[attempts kiwi excent...]

ketchup

Ketchup. Geddit? Ketchup.

[sigh]

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Hey Microsoft...

...your desperate is showing.

Rather pathetic attempt by Microsoft Australia to try to counter their steadily eroding browser marketshare, noted in El Reg.
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Yesterday's storm.

We love storms. I know, very Adams Family, anyways, a few pics from the balcony.

shark


before2


stormwide

Very nice having the elevation and a big sky to catch the leading and trailing edge of a cell. This one dropped about 20mm in 10 mins a little south of us.

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The other Great Southern Land.

One of my co-workers is on safari in the other (or perhaps the original) Great Southern Land, Africa.

Some say he can get a Toyota Yaris to 160km/h - and keep it there.
Some say he can see through time.
We know him as Farmer Ben.

Fascinating read of his travels here, but you really ought to just add his blog to your bookmarks.

Has a good outlook on things. Might learn something.

...and of course, can’t mention Great Southern Land without this:




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Nice art.


cylon rumble

Kick. Ass.

Fascinating read and more art straight from the horses mouth here.

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Back in the Marathon groove.


marathonlogo.jpg

You know you’re getting back into the Marathon groove when you’re clearing out a postmaster account, using your right hand on delete, and the fingers on your left hand are feeling their way towards Z, X, option and space[1].

[1] - strafe left, strafe right, fire secondary, fire primary respectively. Happy

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Supermarket womble identification guide.



I’m one of those weird folk who actually like grocery shopping. Since we have a couple of good supermarkets almost directly on the way home I find it easy just doing quick daily shops for anything we’re running short on or provisions for whatever Kathy or I feel like cooking for dinner that night. It’s almost a part of the post-work-day wind down.

Now, with that out of the way, may I offer my guide for spotting wombles at supermarkets:

Womblus Obstructae:

Identified by the distinctive behaviour of stopping just after the turnstile entry but before the cattle run has ended; usually to check a list or trying to identify where they should go first (hint: about two steps straight ahead, thanks.) Closely related to Womblus Oblivius.

Womblus Oblivius:

Very common, has many identifying characteristics, such as lacking any peripheral vision - or forward vision for that matter. Careful though, these wily critters do have perception of movement behind them and will unfailingly move to block any attempts to go around them, stopping when you stop, moving when you move. All the while maintaining a slightly vacant breathe-in-now-breathe-out expression.

Womblus Excrutium:

One needs to travel carefully through supermarket aisles as you are being watched. If it is determined that you have spent too much time in one place, miniature wombles are deployed and soon track you down, emitting a screeching call. If you are detected early enough in your expedition, a pack of WE’s will keep pace with you down each aisle. Strangely, these wombles ignore other wombles.

Womblus Velocis:

These miniature animals are seen flitting around corners, down aisles and across the ends of aisles in an attempt to slow your progress, thereby attracting the Womblus Excrutia. Be careful, if you accidentally trip up or knock one of these with a shopping basket, all of a sudden
you’re the bad guy.

Womblus Defusis also known as Womblus Locatiae:

Want to know where the basmati rice is down this aisle? Just look for this critter as they will be standing - with trolley - directly in front to that section preventing any access. They will also be quite still, concentrating profusely on something, wondering which rice to pick as if picking which wire to cut first on a bomb. They will spend quite some time doing this, and may even use a mobile phone to consult -
loudly - with another womble on said wires. These can also been seen staring at a small slip of paper offered by mechanical altars known as “ATMs” that have declined to offer other small slips of paper.

Wombilus Acquaintus:

These animals arrive separately (or indeed in separate packs) but eventually cross tracks, stop all motion, and communicate endlessly on what they did that day, what they may do the next day, what little snowflake has done today, or the progress of each others’ hatchlings. They will do this standing across from each other thereby forming a barrier across an aisle, and adopt the same sight characteristics as Wombilus Oblivius.

Wombilus Obsticulae:

Related to Wombilus Obstructiae, this animal uses inanimate objects known as “trolleys” to achieve their goal. When grazing they will leave their trolley either precisely in the middle of an aisle or more often at an angle - usually 90° - to the aisle thereby safely preventing any progress. When moving, they are prone to perform sudden U-turns when followed, or walk at a slow pace beside the trolley rather than behind it. This is sometimes aided by the presence of one or more Womblus Velocis or Wombilus Excrutium.

There are other classifications that you will undoubtedly encounter, and indeed combinations of the above, but suffice is to say that this entry has been sitting as a draft for too long. Word must be got out, people must be cautioned.
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The true art of listening...

...is being willing to change your mind.

Been listening to Kathy’s Supertramp collection the last couple of days. Yes, Supertramp. And it’s really well made stuff too.
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You couldn't buy publicity like this.

On the front page of news.com.au today:


msfail2

Some days, the comedy just writes itself.

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Phone Voice Recognition tip

Here’s a handy tip when dealing with those voice driven menus. This particular one was with Suncorp but it likely works with many. If you want to get straight through to their superannuation consultants, just say this:

“change to existing motor vehicle policy”

Happy

Interesting sidenote, they scored perfectly on customer service. The consultant took all my details, then asked me to hold while he transferred me to a pre-briefed insurance consultant. Many other companies would have just bunted me to the back of the insurance call queue.
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MWSF final Apple keynote.

Didn’t see this one coming:


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

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Happy New Year!

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An oldie but a goodie.



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So wrong, and yet...


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Tank, load the jump program.




obneo2

This man could out-Neo Neo.



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Sunvisor driving test.

Next time you’re out on the road try testing a theory of mine. I’ve found it pretty reliable in predicting how hapless a driver may be so you can make allowances. What you’re looking for is an indication of how hard their CPU is peddling just to stay on the road. Firstly if both sunvisors are up or if they’re down only when facing in to the sun, they’re not too hopeless, you’ll need to use a different idiot test. The following tests apply when the person in front of you is not driving towards the sun, or there is no sunlight - either cloudy or night.

1. drivers side down - a little skittish/oblivious, give them room,

2. passenger side down - not a reliable indicator since the driver can’t account for passengers. My mum does this when I’m driving, drives me nuts!

3. both down fulltime - watch out! Seriously oblivious driver; everything takes this driver by surprise and they usually don’t react well when they become aware of any impending disaster. They spend time switching between blissful ignorance and panic.

And yet, these are illegal:

spkr3



Why yes, as a matter of fact I am in that 60% of drivers who consider themselves better than the average driver, picking other drivers minor faults while ignoring their own. Why do you ask?

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From slashdot.


Q. Why do geeks celebrate Christmas on Halloween?
A. Because Oct. 31 = Dec. 25.

Happy
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Mmm cosy safe feeling. Not.


atm2a

Saw this at Sunshine Plaza yesterday. I don’t know what’s more cringe-worthy: an ATM running Windows, or an ATM trying and failing to run Windows.

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Here's hoping.


Great gallery here. Make sure you read the descriptions, they’re quite telling of the man, I think.
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Crikey!

Skimming through my daily bookmarks I had one of those did-I-really-see-that moments when closing a tab. Thankfully Firefox has a nifty re-open tab feature so I could go back and take a closer look at the front page of MacUpdate.


gome2

Not sure how that happened, but w00t!

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Err... what?

Set up a smart mailbox in Mail this morning (they’re the email equivalent of iTunes’ smart playlists) to save skipping around folders while catching up. The ruleset was as basic as it gets: show me any message that isn’t in trash or sent that I’ve received over the last week. Worked fine, and I caught up the 50 or so messages that had arrived overnight.

Mail, it seems, had more in store for me:


recent


Now I know I’m a bit of a hussy when it comes to subscribing to email lists’n’all, but really...

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Quick CoRD tip.


If you use cmd-tab to switch processes and you’re getting really peeved by CoRD opening the remote host’s Start menu as a result, open a (Mac OS X) terminal, do this:

defaults write net.sf.cord SendWindowsKey 0

...and walk away going ‘nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.’

UPDATE: This only looks to work on 5.0 pre-releases or later, not the 0.4.3 version. If you want to grab the latest developer build - which I’ve found to be perfectly stable under Leopard - have at it here.
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Nice.


Saw this mentioned on Reddit, it’s a blog entry translating an article from a Norwegian newspaper. Worth a read, and if it’s true (and it likely is) it says a lot about the man, methinks.
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Commandos? Here!?

Seeing as how I look after the uni’s postmaster account I occasionally run across some interesting bounces. This one came from an Italian site and didn’t look like a boilerplate MTA message, so go go gadget Babelfish:

babel1

Which gets you:


babel2

Geez, some people take their email seriously.


CommandoPoster
Get down! Get down again!

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R.I.P. Techspansion.

Techspansion, also known as a guy by the name of Tyler, have closed their doors today.

Tyler wrote, and actively supported some of the best apps I’ve seen on the Mac; the two I used, iSquint and VisualHub were (IMHO) best-of-breed. They are/were video transcoders providing a really simple, effective way to move almost any type of video over to many other formats including iPod video, and AppleTV. If/when they break in a future OS update, they’ll be sorely missed.

Thanks, Tyler, for an outstanding effort; best wishes for you and whatever mountain you choose to climb next.
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Just thinking...


So, you have the words commit and its derivative committee.

Why are they opposites?

confused
Colour me... confused.

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Er thanks, NetRegistry.

Mis-typed a URL in Firefox yesterday and ended up at one of those registry ‘we’re going to park every single possible permutation of this other common domain name’ pages. No big deal except it also wanted to add one of their RSS feeds to NetNewsWire for me. Um...


no


So, thanks, NetRegistry for showing just what a classy operation you are and saving me time when I next register a domain or pick a webhost by ruling yourself out.

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Arm yourselves!

Here’s a interesting method for shielding yourselves from those door to door salescritters.

It turns out that we’re not the only ones who despise this practice (not the people, mind, they’re just doing what they do because they couldn’t get a job at Maccas...) and a couple of organisations are trying to mobilise an opposing force. It’s simply a door version of the good old No Junkmail sticker.

The Consumer Action Law Centre in Victoria is trying to push for door-to-door badgering to be discontinued, and the good people at ShopAround will even send a sticker out to you free (I’m guessing Australia only.) In case you’re thinking that’s too much like a free lunch, it makes sense when you realise that they’re in the electricity and gas supply comparison game, and guess what sort of companies most frequently doorknock? Sounds like a more than fair deal to me.


nod2d


It’ll be interesting to see how effective it is.

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This post brought to you by the letter R.

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
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It's probably nothing.

So the LHC ring is down to < 5º K (an awesome achievement in itself, if you ask me) and they took it for a spin the other day. Experiments continue and the really noteworthy collisions will occur in October, maybe sooner.
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Forget Guitar Hero...


acc

Original creator unknown; it’s been floating out there a while.

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You want to make something of it?

RapidWeaver’s grammar checker on the previous entry.

Picture 1
fight! fight! fight!

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Link Randomness.

Cleaning out some bookmarks, here are some oldies but goodies...




















and of course, the XP version...




Some excellent comparisons of Liberty City in GTA 4 and NYC here.


and let’s finish with something special...

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Wotd: iTunscillation.

iTunscillation: verb - the act of wandering through your iTunes collection and wildly varying each tracks rating depending on your mood at the time of listening.
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Some interesting reading.

Sage words from my longtime pal Merujo here on China and the olympics.

M’s one of the most well-balanced, intelligent people I know and is eminently qualified to speak on this having seen firsthand the transition (by transition I mean like changing from first to third without a clutch) of the Soviet Union to its component countries.
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Er, what?

Decided to take the night off cooking, so cue the cheat sauce (with mods of course!) and idly read the lid while opening it:

whut2

Seriously, what the frack?

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GTA 4: That was- er, what?

So this afternoon I thought I’d fire up GTA 4 for the first time in a while just to check out some of the (totally fricken awesome) scenery, but also to see what they’d done with the site where the twin towers were. Quickest way to get there was by air (erm- that sounds wrong somehow...), so let’s spawn a helicopter. An annihilator to be exact. You know the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’? Well...

wut1
Hmm, well it is heavily armoured I s’pose...

wut2
...something wrong with this phone?

Almost made me wonder whether they were channelling the people that did this.

Oh, and the answer to the original question? I matched the location as well as I could using Google Earth, and it looks like they just put generic lowrise buildings there. Ah well.

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When words fail...


It’s random link time!

First up, Cloverfield condensed. A few other goodies on the main page there too.

Tr2n (Tron 2 for those old enough to have watched the first one in theatres) teaser trailer was bootlegged on a mobile phone at Comicon and looks awesome! The crowd reactions are great too. Oh and you should know I got well and truly repeatedly fricken Rick Rolled looking for the best version there too. The things I put myself through for you, dear reader, you’ve no idea...

Oh and remember that astronaut who came out last week and said UFOs were real? More here. Good on him.
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And in other news, one year.


It’s been One. Freaking. Year. since I stopped smoking.

Go me!
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Chappo will know what this means...


gerald

Heh. Happy

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Sound check.

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You know you've been playing GTA4 for too long when...

...you start following people down the highway just to practice pit manoeuvres on them.

Er, I’m talking in game, not on commute. Tempting thought at times, though... Happy

On the other hand, this guy is just getting silly:

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Well, now that's interesting question...

Was working my way through e-tax (it’s an online tax lodgement app from the Australia Tax Office) this afternoon and I hit the section where it asks for details about how many dependents we have. Would 45 be too many?

dependents
and this is just the first sitting...

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Five New Firefox Features That You Probably Didn't Know About.

Why these features didn’t make 3.0 final, we’ll never know.

from digg.
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Archives coming online soon.

A long while back this blog was in iBlog and it worked pretty well, albeit quirkily (quirkily?) Unfortunately after a few years of popularity the developer apparently just lost interest in it and gave up, stranding iBlog users with either 1.4 or a “release candidate” (in speech marks because it really was still beta quality) 2.0. No way to export, couldn’t even publish successfully in some cases. The support forum had quite a healthy community but sometime after, even that site just disappeared.

Disappointing.

I wanted to keep that blog around because it covered my Dad’s final years and other important stuff, but I also wanted to get a little revisionist on it and remove some entries. I’ll leave this as a clue while I work on moving some 200 entries across.

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iPhone 3G Day (no, I wasn't asleep.)

So the day iPhone fans were gleefully waiting for is here. Right now there’s a global Mexican wave of people queueing for days, then grabbing any iPhone they can at pretty exhorbitant prices.

Go them.

You may have noticed here that I’m not all gooey about today, and that I didn’t also camp out to gets me one. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the iPhone is an awesome piece of kit and, to mix metaphors, certainly wouldn’t kick one out of bed for eating crackers were one to fall in my lap, but it’s just not for me right now. Why?

I have a perfectly good - really nice, actually - mobile phone. It’s a Sony Ericsson k800i and for me it’s perfect to the point of being almost excessive. It takes great pictures, syncs perfectly with my Mac’s address book and calendar (from across the room) hell, I probably don’t even know how to drive the advanced features of this phone. What’s more it has the ability to receive and send text messages over thin air, and when it rings, I can talk to other people as if they were right there. Magic! Okay I’ll dial back the sarkiness, you get the idea, then there’s the other half of the functionality...

I have a perfectly good - really nice, actually - iPod. It’s a 5.5 gen 30GB and for me it’s perfect to the point of being almost excessive. It produces great sound & video (we regularly watch movies on the main AV rig using it), syncs perfectly with my Mac’s iTunes music & video, hell I probably don’t even know how to drive the advanced features of this iPod. What’s more it has the ability to carry my entire music collection as well as a backup of essentials from my Mac. Magic! Okay I’ll dial back the sarkiness, you get the idea.

Thing is, with the functionality of these two devices that I own outright, I really can’t see the need to be a bleeding edge iPhone 3G owner. I like them, and I’m almost gleefully waiting for the Apple naysayers to eat their words as it takes the planet by storm, but for me right now an iPhone would just be excessive and extravagant.

I saw today on the news first a story about people doing it tough just to survive current petrol prices, rent and food costs, queueing by the thousand for a charity food handout. This was in Queensland. Not ten minutes later on the same program I saw people queueing for iPhone 3G. In Australia they’ll be paying an absolute minimum of $51/month for 24 months (or close on to $1k for an outright purchase) for something they don’t even need. What’s wrong with this picture?

Yes, technically I’m a hypocrite in saying that since I’ve bought more than my share of unnecessary gadgets, but I like to think I’ve tempered that with giving whatever bit of kit became redundant to someone else who’ll get another few years good use out of it. Been doing it for quite some time now.

I’m not making judgements here (pot - kettle - black) but I just think - for me - it’s a little... um... distasteful to spend so much on something I don’t need. Maybe in a year when the pricing gets sane (and I see good homes for the current kit to go to) I’ll kick tyres, but until then...

Maybe I’m growing up a little?
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Two words.

Try summarising your life, the way you live it, or a core belief/desire with just two words.

Some examples (not necessarily ones I’d pick): Go Earth, Family Rules, Do Good, No Greed, Give Way, Defeat Evil, No Harm, Have Fun, Improve World, Make Difference, Be Fair.

Hint: if you pick something like Me First, then I think it says something interesting about you...
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The ultimate iPod test.

It’s one thing to hand your iPod over to someone else and let them rummage and discover all your deep dark secrets but this can be mitigated with a nervous laugh and a ‘hey! er heh heh! how did the Spice Girls get in there??’

It’s quite another to face the challenge of letting your iPod play one of its default playlists: Top 25 Most Played, in front of others. Chappo didst challenge me so, and the playlist went thusly. Now I should preface this by saying that I usually just let my iPod scamper through my collection on full random so while I have many tracks, this list likely reflects tracks I have really focussed on. Call this an inverse-excuse, if you will...

25. Drive / Bic Runga. Excuse me but, dear Gods this woman has quite a voice. This is the watered down single version, have a listen to the original on Drive if you can.


Rain fall from concrete coloured sky.

24. Take On Me / A-Ha. Were you really surprised by this?



Bonus points if you can make it through this version:



23. Everything I’m Not / the Veronicas. A tad 90210, and aimed at a demographic half my age, but their sound rawks. And they’re local girls, so, go them!



and a pretty cool unplugged version:



22. Don’t Believe Anymore (Remixed by Ivan Gough and Colin Snape) / Icehouse. This has many resonances for me, especially the original. But we’ve been over that before. Suffices to say if iPods were around in 1985/6 the play count on this one would be a few hundred higher.



...and here’s the version that hit the iPod top 25:



21. Just a Word / Icehouse. I actually have a bone to pick with ID on this one. The remix on the remastered CD is overcooked! What were you thinking, Iva!? Were you aiming for the US market and thought the original was too barren? The version on vinyl is far, far better than this one. Whitespace, Iva, whitespace!

No vid available, exercise for student, etc.

20. Specialty / Howard Jones. Mingli, thank you for introducing me to this.

19. Jeunesse Dorée / De Phazz

18. Sabbatical / De Phazz

17. Heartfixer / De Phazz

16. As The Days Go By (remix) / Daryl Braithwaite. Hunt down the remix if you can - the vid that follows is the single version. Look out for the brilliant bridge, and of course the one and only John Farnham lending a vote of confidence on backing vocals.



15. You Can’t Hold On Too Long / The Cars

14. Night Spots / The Cars.

13. Rush / Big Audio Dynamite

12. Spaceman (remix) / Babylon Zoo



11. Here to Stay / New Order



10. Icehouse / Icehouse



9. Something Special / De Phazz



8. Human Behaiour (Close to Human mix) / Bjork

Sorry, can’t seem to find any freely available video of this one, the iTMS preview is here.

7. Don’t You Want Me (Extended) / Human League

Haven’t been able to find this version on iTMS or youtube so here’s the original.

6. Maybe San José / De Pazz

Love how these guys step right up to the line then mischeviously poke their tongue out and turn away. “Do you know the way to San-”

5. Streams / Baily

How the hell did this one get in here!? Winking

4. Numb/Encore / Linkin Park & Jay-Z

This is a remix of one of two Linkin Park’s tracks I’m addicted to. This is a really good collab with the two. The clip you see here has the song, but I think I probably associate this track more to that questionable remake of Miami Vice.

3. Things Can Only Get Better / Howard Jones. Again, Mingli, thank you.

2. Untouched / The Veronicas.



1. Unforgotten / Halo 2 Original Soundtrack

If you’re not a Halo/Marathon fan then this one’s probably a little lost on you. For me it brought out goosebumps. I’m just in awe of Microsoft (yes, I just typed those six words!) for going the whole nine yards and engaging a whole fracking orchestra to do the soundtrack for a game. It’s times like this that I smile in realising that there are just as many well-meaning, devoted-to-making-the-world-just-a-little-better geeks there as anywhere. They just don’t let them see daylight is all.

Excuse me, I’ll just go watch Antitrust a few more times to get my head straight; I feel a little - um - wrong about declaring an M$ product number one in anything. Happy Seriously though, hats off to you, Microsoft for briefly owning the soul of and collaborating with Bungie and making a really decent go of it.



So there you have it. You know what surprised me? No Thomas Dolby or Blue Nile made that list. Ah well, I get a little fickle with the ol’ track skip button. So what’s on your top 25 these days?

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We all knew it...


US Pirate Party Study Shatters MPAA Claims

We all knew it, but somebody finally did the legwork. I'd like to see them do the same study for the music industry. Problem is that that one probably would show faltering sales... but that's only because music being produced these days is utter shite. Happy
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CFLs: Just Say No.

Had to change a bulb yesterday, well Kathy did while I was still getting ‘round to it, and it occurred to me that with the Australian Govt.’s proposed phase out of “inefficient incandescent” bulbs in favour of fluorescent bulbs (a.k.a. Compact Fluorescent Lamps - CFLs) due by November this year, they’re dumber than they look.

First the good side of CFLs: they use a fraction of the amount of energy normally used with incandescent lighting, and this is the Govt’s main selling point. Hey that’s great, I’m all for sustainability and helping Gaia out, but try thinking it through a little more...

1. CFLs are more expensive and take more energy to produce,

2. CFLs are wasteful: when you turf a CFL you’re chucking not only the bulb but the integrated ballast which could last much longer,

3. Recycling? Not according to the govt., they recommend disposing of these in general rubbish, ie. landfill and not recycling because the bulbs wouldn’t make it through to the recycling plant and “contaminate recyclable items.” Y’see where an “inefficient incandescent” bulb is made up of glass, a sliver of tungsten, copper and alloy, a fluoro (be it a tube or CFL) is made up of glass, plastic, alloy, copper, ballast (usually a small electronic circuit) phosphor, and mercury vapour.

The last one is the worry. Sure it’s a tiny amount, but aren’t we trying to decrease the noxious substances we’re putting into the ground? Can’t be that noxious, you say? Why, then, does that very page say that the first thing you should do if you break one indoors, is open all windows to ventilate the room? Oh, and don’t use a vacuum to clean it up.

Enough whinging, how about putting a positive -er- light on it. One good move would be to move the ballast part of the CFL into the socket so you’re not replacing it unnecessarily. These are available but they’re hugely expensive and could/should be subsidised if you want any kind of adoption rate, like say solar panels. Oh, don’t get me started on solar panels...

My thought? CFLs are relatively good for energy usage, but bad for everything else. Use them for commercial applications where the energy difference will be noticeable, but don’t put them everywhere. The real solution, IMHO, is LEDs. They’re nearly indestructible, last pretty much for ever, and are energy efficient enough to put CFLs to shame. Refine that technology and you’re laughing, until then, well...
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Huzzah: eBay gives up on PayPal-only requirement.

So eBay finally blinked, citing not the roars of derision from its customers, but our own ACCC as the reason.

I’ve only used eBay about three times, and once using PayPal because it was a software title I just had to have (a vintage copy of Spaceship Warlock) and PayPal was the only payment method available. I felt distinctly unsafe giving an organisation that does not have to play by financial institution rules - and who have repeatedly allowed customers’ accounts to be cleaned out - any access to one of my accounts. I closed the PayPal account the moment the transaction was completed.

You see, the biggest problem with PayPal is that it’s a pull mechanism, rather than push, and after you give initial approval, PayPal have continuous access to be able to withdraw from your account with or without your prior authorisation.

No. Just no.

I’ll stick with push transactions like bank transfers, cheques, or even credit cards where the organisation does have to comply with finance sector regs, and in the event of a disputed transaction, will reverse the transaction on your say so then start investigating.

I trust PayPal as far as I can throw it. If eBay had gotten away with the anti-competitive PayPal-only restriction then I just would never use it (as opposed to hardly ever...)

On a lighter note, yes, even though the game is some 18 years old (and cheesy as the day it was born) I still fire up Spaceship Warlock once in a while. Classic gaming is one of the reasons we still have old iron hanging around the place.
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I know it's bad form to laugh...


...but the expression on this little fella is priceless!
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So bad for you, and yet...

Lunch today: ye olde English pork pie with nostril-searing amounts of hot English mustard.

porkpie
pic by Evan Izer cc-by-sa 3.0


Had to be done.

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Oh now this oughta be interesting!

Unless you’ve been offworld for the last month or so, you’ll already know that the iPhone is about to go global in 3G/2.0 form in 11 days. Very shiny, capable toy, and if I didn’t already have a perfectly decent phone and iPod I’d be sorely tempted. As it is I was hoping that pricing for this critter would make the whole decision easy...

It didn’t.

Telstra today announced their pricing. iPhone (I assume 8GB) AU$279 and AU$30/mo contract (assume 24 months). That’s less than half what I thought it would be, and puts it right in the non-smartphone pricing category. Optus and Vodaphone will have no option but to match. It’s going to be a blitz.

As for me, well I’ve been accused of being a rampant consumer (gadget junkie) but I like to think I can temper this with some practicality for now... no really... I’m pretty sure I can...
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Before I forget

A couple of Mac desktop experiences for you.

TBWA\Chiat\Day need to talk with the guy who did this:



I won’t tell you how accurate this one is but it gets bonus points for demonstrating Master Chief’s bulletproof codpiece.
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Blast from the past.

Finally did a long-overdue cull of the wardrobe just now and found a couple of treasures. One was a black t-shirt for the Star Trek edition of After Dark, complete with cool Berkeley Systems’ Heroes of Technology bit on the back. The other was this gem:

rsfront
not ironing it...

rsback
still not ironing it...


Story behind this is I was once lucky enough to work with a couple of excellent guys, Mike Seyfang and Nick Hodge. We were Random Access Consulting, a.k.a. the Munge Brothers. Nick’s got some good history on it here. Mike had a grafitti artist paint three of these as a surprise on the afternoon of an Apple SA Christmas bash. I think they were still not quite dry when we wore them.

‘twas a whole different river back then - and I was a whole different person - but nice to look back on those times once in a while. Uncle Mike, Uncle Nick, if you ever stumble upon this page in your travels, sorry, but I did put ‘Caution, Stumble Hazzard’ signs up... A tip o’ the hat to you and yours, hope you’re doing well.

And may your trousers always stand at attention.

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Let's see

...if I remember how to use this blog thingie.
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My favourite error screen

bw
Satellite confirmation that we're getting snotted with rain.

Love it!

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All our tomorrows... (Part II)

Sorry to have left you (both) with a "Well!? Did they??" end of season cliff-hanger, just letting the dust settle from the last few weeks.

So to answer your question, yes we did. Happy

huzzah


Both clans got along, Chappo was an excellent best man, and the birds didn't kick up too much of a fuss for us crowding their back yard. 'twas a lovely day.

Chuck an email this way if you'd like to see the pics.

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All our tomorrows...

Both clans are here or nearby, sleeping. Our rings, worn throughout engagement, are freshly polished and nestled in little boxes (we feel so naked without them!)

All is quiet.

Kathy, I love you.

All our tomorrows start here1.

P.S. Still yes? Winking

1- Apologies to Neil Gaiman.
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Isn't she the coolest?

Kathy made a recent addition to her wheels. 'scuse the crap fisheye photo, 'twas taken late in the day with my phone...

warthog2

and her latest acquisition...
warthog3
looks like a big animal... sorta like a puma...

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Interesting test...

Try this if you've a minute or two. It's interesting when you compare yours to other results.

Mine is after the cut. Read More...
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Star Wars graffiti.

Cool.
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Or are you just happy to see me?

It's not a huge stretch to come to the conclusion that iPods and other DAPs have well and truly changed the way we listen to music. Having as much as your entire CD collection in your pocket will do that.

I think Chappo nailed it one day when we were rabbitting on about... whatever it was we were rabbitting on about at the time. He said he likes listening to albums all the way through and thought that the "mp3 generation" was missing out. After thinking about it and experimenting I think he's right.

All of a sudden the concept of an album as a coherent piece of work in its own right is diminished and shuffle play or album/artist/genre traversing playlists, and single track digital purchases reign. Tracks live or die by themselves, and if you listen on full shuffle, transitions can be at best amusing but more likely downright jarring. I'm not saying that Enya and Rammstein couldn't eventually get along having a few bevvies at the local, but musically it's a bit of a jump.

Sure, you could just turn shuffle off but that makes picking music a completely manual process (sayeth he in his best blonde 'Maths is hard!' voice...) iPods these days - and I'm sure other DAPs worth their salt - have a nice compromise called Album Shuffle, that (funnily enough) picks an album at random, then plays it from start to finish before moving on. It's not rocket science but I think it's significant in that it can help you re-appreciate each album.

I've been listening this way for the last month or so and it really makes a nice difference. My work commute is anything up to 45 mins so that fits in up to an album each way. It's like you're no longer listening to some radio station programmed by a musical version of a dyslexic, but you're listening to your CD collection again. I'm not describing it here well but give it a go, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the difference.
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To say the content of this blog is stale...

...would be inaccurate.

Would it be inaccurate to say that the content of this blog has gone mouldy to the point where it's developed its own currency, culture, and is plotting the demise of the rest of the site? Not so much.

godfellas

More updates inbound.

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A Pakistani view of U.S. nuclear weapons.

Interesting read here.

[Pakistani Brig. Gen.] Iqhman added the Pakistani government would be willing to offer technical advice and assistance to the United States on improving its nuclear weapons handling procedures. Speaking anonymously because of the issue's sensitivity, senior Pentagon officials said it is Washington's role to give, not receive, advice on nuclear weapons safety and surety issues.
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Well done.

Well done to the Australian Ferral Federal Pollies for today finally saying the 'S' word all bipartisan-like thanks to Labour not really giving anyone an out. I thought the PM acquitted himself well. Coverage here.

As an aside I thought it interesting that Kevin Rudd used the phrase "audacity of faith" ala Barack Obama's "audacity of hope."
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R.I.P. Roy Scheider.



roy


Really liked this guy as an actor.

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Let's talk straight for a bit.


mal


What I might blog about:

LTUAE, music, video games, news, non-news, culture, (hopefully) funny whiskey tango foxtrot stuff, and general arbitrary pot shots at stuff in general.

What I will not blog about:

Specifics about K and I, e.g. wedding/holiday dates, specifics about work unless it's something like say some useful tech info, where we live. A list I used to be on outed the town where I live recently without my consent - was not happy. Tactical nuke targeting accuracy is okay, orbital laser accuracy, not so much. Unsubbed soon after, but genie is out of the bottle on that one, shrug, sigh, exp +1. If you want to know any of this, be a friend, get in touch, I don't bite. Not unless you piss me or mine off.

Glad we talked.

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Black Mirror | rorriM kcalB

Oh I like this! Sound and some quiet space essential. Nice. Quite nice.

Have at it here.
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Finding a new hairdresser.

Maybe I'm just strange this way but a good hairdresser is not easy to find, and when you do find one you (I) tend to keep going to them. It's not like I have a high maintenance cut or anything, but it's a personal thing.

Before I moved away from the big smoke I had the same hairdresser for almost ten years (and before you ask, no, the fact that she looked a lot like Clare Forlani didn't have anything to do with it. No really. Mmmm Clare Forlani... ahem, sorry.) Anyways, so when I found a good hairdresser locally (90mins drive each way just for a haircut is a tad ridiculous) I thought things hair-wise were sorted. That is until she moved on - had a second child, actually. Sigh. So after much procrastination - it's been about nine weeks and I'm getting a little sick of the Sonny Crockett season one look - it's time to take the plunge again with a new hairdresser. We'll see how it goes this weekend.

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How much chook would a chook cook cook...

We have a neighbour who still is a little old school in that he/she thinks it's okay to incinerate their rubbish on occasion in their back yard. While this was fine a while back when everyone had space, in closer quarters, not so much. So we have the smell of smoke hanging in the air... and it makes me think back to a funny incident when I was about 4-5. [cue wavy screen borders]

My first years were lived in Dunedin, New Zealand. My (maternal) grandparents had a really nice home out at a place called Waihola. Macracarpas lined the driveway and formed the hedges, there was an apple tree orchard, verandahs, a lawn tennis court (believe it or not - my fam's not well off by any means) and all sorts of stuff a 4-5 y.o. brat could get into trouble with. Anyways, the smoke here reminds me of this one time (at band camp) where I was trying to do the right thing. That day it was my turn to take the rubbish out to the incinerator and burn it. Said incinerator was a simple besser block-type affair, about 1m high and .5m on a side with vents say 15cm high underneath, and a grate was at the bottom of the incinerator for draft. Mum used to keep chickens (still does to this day!) and this was part of their range... lil' Baily chucks the rubbish in the incinerator and lights it, then steps back to idly watch... yes, you guessed it, a short time later...

wfc

Sure enough, unbeknownst to me, a chook had settled in the gap under the grate of the incinerator and had come barrelling out - feathers alight - in an absolute panic (as was I.) Cue many family members chasing said chook down, dousing it with water.

So you could say I started cooking early.

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AoW 26 Update.

When I showed Kathy my 26 pick, the Potbelleez' excellent single Don't Hold Back, she kinda nodded knowingly. Y'see, she runs rings around me when it comes to music knowledge. Did I mention she's a cool chic? Happy Here's the Potbelleez. (OBTW, where possible, I'm going to start embedding YouTube clips of my picks because I know a few of you aren't quite into the whole iTunes Music Store thing.)



...and here's what Kathy already knew about. Since she knows how I bawl at the drop of a hat when it comes to moving art - hell, she watched City of Angels with me - she warned me in advance. Sure enough, the following had the expected effect. Introducing Paul Van Dyk. Striking similarities, and just beautiful. Hang on, got something in me eye...


Update: the link I originally had here has been pulled, the official (non-embeddable, dammit!) clip is here.

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R.I.P. Heath Ledger.

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DRM can kiss my shiny metal ass.

Incidentally, when I went to take the screenshot you see in Talking of gears I hit this little gem, not sure if it's new to Leopard:

Picture 1

Bite me. Go go gadget VLC media player!

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'round here we have both kinds of music!

You know you've stayed up a little too late when you run across a channel showing the tail end of a live country music gig and you like it. Happened to me last night. Freaked the living daylights out of me.

Just sayin' is all...
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Familiar? I have no idea what you're talking about.


If only we worked for someone as inspiring. Wait, what?

[snicker]

Ob disclaimer: don't ask me why I think this, but I'm pretty sure Ms. D is actually a pretty normal, sincere, well-meaning person. No really, I'm serious. Hey stop laughing.

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When does this get easier?

A day or so ago, a very dear friend of mine half a world away lamented that that day would have been her brother's birthday if he were still alive. And I could do or say nothing to comfort her from this distance. M, please know that I was there by your side in spirit even if I could think of nothing comforting or even coherent to say. I think I know something of this too. The sense of loss is an insidious, sneaky beast. When you think you have things pretty much dealt with, when you think you can cope, said beast taps you on the shoulder. And you remember. And you cry. And you cry. And you cry. And you worry all the more that in trying to cope, the lament might fade over time; you may even start to forget things. And you cry again.

I don't have an answer. No-one does. No matter how surrounded by love and friendship you are, this is something everyone has to deal with in their own terms. And it's hard. All I can say is that with my dad I try to remember the times when we truly connected - and I'm lucky enough to be able to say that was often - my Dad was cool in that American Pie dad kinda way. Someone who would believe in you, and would stand by you regardless of how ridiculous he thought you were being.

Sigh.

Miss you dad.
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Talking of gears.

Got home last night with my cranky pants on. Y'see the Dragon had a major service (~$260) and they identified around another $1000 of other stuff that really needs attention so I had a bit of mental sticker shock.

ray2a
Just needs a little suspension work... maybe brakes...


I actually caught myself thinking "geez I just don't get a break." then mentally slapped myself. Hard. (Telekinesis is cool!) I'm one of the luckiest people alive. I have the love of a beautiful woman, live in a beautiful part of the world, have a steady job at a pretty cool place with very cool people. If the worst I have to worry about is just car troubles, I think I should STFU.

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Sage advice: PSA on backups.


Have a read here. "It's funny because it's true!" Happy
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Shifting gear.

Y'know, one of the (few!) things I miss from when I smoked was heading out the back to the patio, watching the evening stars (and a little satellite spotting!), and just generally listening to silence or better yet nature settling in for the night. Kathy would often join me out there too. 'twas a nice gain perspective time. I'd talk to myself a little too. Nothing manic, mind, just vocalising thoughts, maybe sending wishes out to the Verse, chewing cud, or mulling story ideas over.

I think I need to get more into regularly blogging about stuff that matters and stuff that just doesn't. Y'know, the everyday stuff that everyone deals with. A bit more like Doogie Houser without the cheesy MIDI piano soundtrack, or better yet like Wil Wheaton (more on this guy later, just finished reading his books, he thoroughly rocks!)

So, dear reader, apologies in advance, but I'm giving up on trying to be one of few pithy words, razor-sharp astuteness like John Gruber and co. (like I'd ever come close!) and I'm just going to be a little brave and talk to myself. Big Wil style.

We can still be friends though, right?

Right?
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AoW catchup.

Yep, behind again, shall fix that shortly. In the meantime have another watch or three of the clip below. Happy
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MWSF Day one.

Soo, let's see how the predictions stacked up:

1. Subnotebook. Yes, the MacBook Air is a reality. Jaw-dropper that it is. Insanely thin and light, aimed at those who travel a lot and/or use the homebase/light traveller model. It's almost as if someone left a MacBook and an iPod Nano in a dark place together and piped in some Barry White to see what might happen. Unfortunately the rational part of me says this one's not for me unless I was that cashed up I was running short of things to spend money on and world poverty was a thing of the past. etc. I love the new form factor - they're exploring sensual curves again rather than sterile lines - but I'm a take-it-all-wth-you kinda guy; the MacBook Pro is all I could want.

2. Video rentals on iTMS. Again yes, and big hats off to Apple for getting all the major content cartels onboard. That's a pretty awesome achievement! A tad pricey, but those agreements must have been hard negotiated so could have been a lot less equitable, or not happened at all. I think the market will show us in a few months whether this is acceptable and a readjustment may or may not take place (case in point iTunes Plus tracks.) Of course, we in the OBoTW (Other Bits of The World) won't see this for at least a few years... for some reason... remind me why that is again?

3. Fire and forget NAS. Yes! Time Capsule. Take an Airport Extreme Base Station, add a thumping big hard disk and here you go.

4. AppleTV with fangs. Not so much. Yes there was a software rev to it untethering it from a Mac which, as I understand is a welcome change - and bonus points that said software will also be a free upgrade for existing AppleTVs. Alas, no tuners, no PVR functionality, but then again what do you expect from a box that's half the size of a Mac mini!?

5. iPhone in Australia. Sorry, still laughing. Computer says no... for at least a few years... for some reason... remind me why that is again?
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It's beginning to look a lot like...

...MWSF, aka second Christmas for us Mac fan boys/gals starts at about 3am tonight when the keynote begins, and as is typical of the occasion pundits, pro's, and amateurs are whipping themselves (er- ourselves) into a speculative frenzy.

As Chairman Gruber astutely observed, when Apple goes quiet on public and private channels, you know something big is going to happen. Update: take another look at Daring Fireball and the gentleman has a slew of predictions, And this is a gentleman you should listen to because he's a frood who really knows where his towel is.

FWIW, here are my predictions:

1. Killer subnotebook. This one's long overdue. Apple used to own this part of the market; to this day I hold a longing admiration for the humble PowerBook Duo 280 and the Duo Dock.

2. Video rentals on iTunes. Well, yes, probably in the US, but with the content cartels over here in that pesky OBoTW (Other Bits of The World) we won't see this for five years. We don't even have video at all in iTMS yet.

3. Fire and forget wireless NAS that my Mum could use. I have to admit to being sceptical when I saw "sneak preview" screenshots of the ad copy (memo to fakers, impo's are usually done in Illustrator, not Photoshop: thanks for playing...) That said, when Leopard came out sans Time Machine syncing with other wireless NAS, there was something in the -er- air? The time is ripe for this to be done right. And you know who does Right, right?

4. AppleTV Reloaded. An AppleTV with fangs? Big enough to take it to the DVRs? Gawd I'd love to see it, but I just don't. It wouldn't fit in the iTunes model - more's the pity.

5. iPhone in Australia.

5a. ahHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAA! Just kidding!

5b. ahHAHAHAHAHAHAA!

5c. Try again in 2010. ahHAHAHAHAHAAA!
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Any cardiologists or dietitians in the house?

If so, you may want to not visit this page.

It's just... wrong.

[thanks to Merlin Mann over at 43 folders for the link.]
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Happy New Year!

sydonay
Where the hell did 2007 go!? Happy


Hello 2008!

Hope NYE was great for you (Kathy & I spent a quiet post-holiday one at home) and that 2008 is chock full of extra crunchy goodness for you and yours!

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Kittens will be kittens.

cute
Ad for a zoo. Cute.

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Merry Christmas.

Have just spent Christmas day with Kathy's Mum & Dad as well as sister and brother in law, not to mention Bosun, the family Cairn terrier. One of the nicest Christmas days I've had since I-can't-remember-when; they well and truly made me feel like part of the family, which, by the end of April in the coming year I will be. Thank you clan Fraser, I'm honoured.

Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not (I prefer to think of it as simply a day to step back and appreciate family and friends), I do hope you've had a special day today too.
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Telling sign?

signofthetimes
Seen at Brisbane domestic airport yesterday. Question is, are they advertising Windows XP or Vista?

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'twas a combined effort...

Ahem.

Take the Sci fi sounds quiz I received 100 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Guess the Sci-Fi Movie Sounds hereCanon powershot
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Die spammers, die!

Up until now, I've been able to have wildcard addressing active on my domain (ie. anything you like before the @) which is handy because you can tag companies so that you know if they sell the address, e.g. microsoftsoldthisaddressthebastards [at] mydomain. Anyways, thanks to email gateway admins like yours truly (for better or worse) starting to rely on sender address verification, spammers are resorting to finding such domains and joe-jobbing them with random sender addresses. Repeatedly. Close on 1000 backscatter emails in the last two days alone. It's ironic in an Alanis Morissette kinda way.

Sigh.

So it looks like I'll need to think about shutting down wildcard addressing and resort to just a handful of addresses. If that happens and you can't figure out my address (hint, it uses my first name before the @ sign) I'll probably put a contact form somewhere here.


ShepherdBook

Spammers, there is a special circle of hell waiting just for you.

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So Say We All.

There is no better rally cry than Commander Adama yelling same. So listen up: here and (thanks to Boing Boing) here.

Incidentally if you're a fan, you may want to keep an eye on Beyond the Red Line. Not done much more than kick the tyres on this one (or skids as the case may be) but it's a pretty awesome effort so far.
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It's a cheap shot (but someone has to take it...)

Well done on Kevin Rudd doing on his first day in office what John Howard never had the nads to do by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, committing Australia to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% by 2050.

Quick question: does this mean our uni is going to have to shed 60% of its academics? Happy
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Oops: AoW catchup time again.

Yep, been a slack bastard again. Think I owe you four, so here they are all fast'n'furious-like.
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Intelligence of Cows

Funny post on Farmer Ben's blog here.
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Bookmark housework.

Going through my stack o' bookmarks, some oldies but goodies:

iPod vs. Cassette

Some interesting anecdotes from development of the first Macintosh here.

History on pretty much any arcade game you (okay I) played in your (okay my) misspent youth here.

Horatio visits a sunglasses shop.

Drummer jokes, anyone?

Most recent LiveJournal pics posted. (Ob. warning, potentially NSFW, NSFL, or just plain wrong)

Have these guys got dafont for you?

Some psycho marketroid wants your email address so they can stalk spam verify you? Give them one that's good for an hour, a day, a week, or a month.
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About freakin' time...

You'll never guess, but Apple Australia has [gasp!] actually started putting commercials on prime-time free to air and sat TV for the iPod touch and iMac. And here was me thinking they (still) couldn't market their way out of a wet paper bag.
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Well done.

The ALP trounced the Libs in last nights federal election, we have a new Federal Government for the first time in over a decade. Like many I was a little worried that we as a country would make the same mistake again, but it looks like we've started to learn. I'm a little more hopeful for this country's future.

No doubt the Prez of the U.S.A. is sending his congratulations to the new PM of Austria as we speak. Happy
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What's wrong with this picture?

From our local Neighbourhood Watch newsletter:

Welcome to our new neighbours who have recently decided to make [here] their home. This is a beaut place to live, help us to keep it that way. All residents including people who rent are welcome.



There's something very, very wrong with that attitude, I'll leave it to you to work it out.
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Some laws are silly.

I mean when you see (or more likely hear) a car like this come doof-doofing down the street waking everyone and their kids up...

ricer


...you know the type, the ones that have bought Mum's old Honda Civic, had the springs chopped, put noisy exhausts the size of sewer pipes on it (reducing compression to [does some calculations] about zero), replaced the back seat with a couple of $20 subwoofers and a $50 megawatt amp. And you just know they're cooler than you'll ever be...

cool

...well, my question is why is it that you can't use something like this...

spnkr

...as a cure, as in this example (though here, Randy's blowing up perfectly good warthogs.):



I mean, it's not like we're some down & out 'hood of L.A. or anything. Sometimes there are just too many laws...

These are the only ricers I'd like to see around our neck of the woods.

realricer


P.S. Speaking of warthogs, I didn't realise Bungie made a real one! Those crazy wacky guys...


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Here's hoping...

So we (Australia) are staring down the barrel of a federal election happening this Saturday. After a catty, childish mud-slinging campaign by the Libs and not a whole lot better behaviour from Labour, we're in that blissful three-day political advertising blackout phase leading up to E-day.

I'm hoping that we'll do better than the U.S.A.1 and boot out a government that is (IMHO) arrogant, out of touch with the majority of its constituents to the point that it's sometimes internationally embarrassing, and one that is way too closely aligned to the current (dangerously insane) Bush administration like a bully's little kid brother. I mean, hello? We're a part of South East Asia, not the 52nd state of the U.S.A. (U.K. being the 51st, of course) and it's time we as a country pulled our head in and started acting like it.

[1] - Note to the people that call the U.S.A. "America": I'm pretty sure the other countries that make up the Americas - you know, those pesky ones that make up the whole of South America - would rather you stopped sounding like you're talking for both continents...
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Tink, tink, tink!

We got the rings the other day!

rwb


I've been tapping it against every hard surface ever since. Happy

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Hmm, interesting...

You know how I had a little rant a while back about how some scammer company that kept calling from 02 8023 0000? Statcounter is showing quite a few people in Australia starting to hit that page after doing their own Google search for it. Seems I wasn't the only one they were trying this on with...

Again, if you know who this bast company is, I'd love to hear about it. Even just an anonymous comment just here using that Comments link below that you just know you want to click...

update: thanks to a reader who took time to comment, it turns out it's American Express (or someone acting on behalf of same) trying to sign up people on credit cards. Busted.
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Oh and while I think of it...

Looked at the calendar and did some maths (okay Numbers did some maths...)

102 days.

Guess that makes me a non-smoker. Happy
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And we're back!

Relishing all this Leopardy goodness. This is a sock-knocker-offer. Blazingly fast (and no not just the 'snappy' placebo you get with a clean install, this is fast) and improvements pretty much everywhere you look. More in a few days after I get used to things.
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But the important news...

We ordered the rings today!

rwb


Russian wedding bands to be exact.

Though the geek in me always thinks of this after seeing them:

machine

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A state of cat-like readiness.

Called TNT late yesterday to see what was up with the delayed delivery and whether I could pick it up from them (it ended up at a depot 10 mins away from here) but no dice, no way of getting hold of Leopard before Monday unless I drove to the big smoke and fluked finding one in a brick'n'mortar store, and I'm not hanging out quite that much for it. Still, reading my usual collection of bookmarks I can't help feeling a little like Bart Simpson in that episode where he has to study, the next day is snowed in, schools closed, and all he can do is look out the window and watch all the other kids having a ball.

Yeh. Just like that. But apparently I'm not the only one, I feel your pain guys.

Well, enough. I'm turning away from the lappy and doing some Iron Chef cooking and the closest I'll come to looking at a web browser again is to check the weather radar for the storms we're expecting. Any other remotely computer-related activity will be on the gaming rig! That said, you must read Chairman Gruber's take on it over at Daring Fireball, he always just nails it.

I can wait 'til Monday... <insert facial tick here> really I can...

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Pad...pad...pad...pad...


shipped

Hot diggety!

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AoW Catchups.

incoming!
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Reading intertia.

I got caught out with reading inertia this morning while reading a Vice City walk-though.

doh


What's reading inertia? Well it's when you're reading a text passage and you can't stop before you read a bit that you don't want to read. Here's an example: in Vice City one of the key moments in the game is when you have to off Lance Vance because he's - see? If you're still working through Vice City as I am, you read all the way to "see?" which, in the original text would have been a big plot twist. You knew a spoiler was coming, but even with the mental handbrake on, your eyes keep skidding on to the goods and a little part of your mind is doing that time-dilated "nnnnnooooooooooOOOOOOOOOO!" thing.

Yes, I know, technically most walkthroughs are just one big spoiler, but I don't know about you but generally I go to a walkthrough to get a hint on how to solve just one thing I'm stuck on. So, to people who write walkthroughs, thanks for the excellent efforts in writing them, but please learn these words: Spolier. Alert.

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Zen, and the art of...

We've had some really good thumping big storms come through our way the past 4-5 days. Love it! It's also allowed me to put off washing the Jade Dragon (vehiculus motilii) for another wee while.

Now, I don't mean to sound at all ungrateful to Mother Nature/Gaia/$DEITY but couldn't ya have slanted the rain a little so the alloys got done too? They take a fricken age to clean.


cleanspot
Made a clean spot. Crap.

I pity people who have to clean spoked wheels! Kathy once briefly owned an MGB so can sympathise.

And yes, you just read a blog entry about cleaning car wheels. No refunds on that minute of your life you now want back, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it on.

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Oh really just-

Yes, I'm sorry, dear reader, I'm once again neglecting my commitment to you. I recently read that one of the secrets to a successful blog was committing to it. And here was me thinking a good blog was letting your friends know 'holy cow I just totally nailed the get-the-counterfeit-plate-info-from-the-guy-on-the-cargo-ship mission!' thing in that level of Vice City.

Which I did last night. Yay me! Or Tommy, as the case may be. Happy

Anyways, in the meantime, once again, I offer the following.

Oh really just-

The original:



The interpretation:



Once in a while you have to stop and listen.

And if you - erm - caught something in your eye listening/watching the latter, your stock just went up a few points in my books.

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AoW catchups.

Going by my reckoning I owe you, dear reader, three albums of the week. I won't wax lyrical about them, you'll just have to trust me on it, or see what you think.

Incoming!
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Thought for the day.

Thought last night something that would mess with a vegan's head: doesn't oil come from animal remains?

Just sayin' is all, why some of my best friends etc.
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Game faces, people.

It was hinted to me when I got to campus this morning that I've been a slack bastard again for not writing in a while. So, let's fix that.
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Nicely put.

Following on from yet another "OMFG!! Terrorists!!!!1!" overreaction to innocent circumstance, John Cole over at Balloon Juice says something that just needs to be said.

"It is absurd. You are safe. I am safe. This nation is safe. Quit being such a damned pussy. All of you."

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Emm Ee Aitch.

Sorry folks, had a bit of blogapthy (blogatrophy?) of late. Got a few thoughts on simmer, I'll get back in the groove soon.
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I know what he means...

Funny post on my pal Sasquatch's blog.

I see stupid people...
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Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin' into the future

I think there's a temporal anomaly (good Star Trek term that) in our bedroom.

We have digital clocks on either side of the bed and yesterday when I was turning in I noticed my clock was some two hours faster than Kathy's. Thinking I'd just muffed setting the alarm or something I set it back to the correct time. Woke up this morning and overnight my clock had gained over 20 mins.

It's quite a few years old but I didn't know digital clocks could just go batty like that.

docdoc
Unavailable for comment.

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iTunes: when weeding and backups (or idiot users) go wrong.

As I've mentioned before, I've been doing some serious culling of my iTunes collection of late. 'came time last night that I thought it's been a good long while since I've backed up my collection to the external; a trusty Maxtor II 250GB. Called Cortera BTW. Yeh I know, it's a geek pun but fellow Halo fans might get it, especially when you learn my iPod goes by the name Cortana...

For this I use a very nice freeware app produced by LaCie (thanks LC!) called SilverKeeper. It's a really good backup/sync tool that (unfortunately for me) does just what it's told. You can probably guess where this is going...

So here I was, plug in the external disk, fire up SilverKeeper, select source, destination folders, sync, then go.

Notice anything wrong with the above? I didn't.

Until about 20mins later when my MacBook Pro threw up an alert that it was critically short of disk space. WTF!? Check available space on the boot disk and sure enough it's at 0kB available. Several expletives later and I realise what I'd asked SilverKeeper to do. Do a two-way sync with my neatly pruned live iTunes collection folder and its bloated, weedy counterpart on the external. So now I had an iTunes folder with ooh a couple of thousand tracks in there that it a) didn't need, and b) didn't know about.

Aw crap.

First things first, the Mac is out of space. Step 1, stop that sync from trying to further roger it, step 2, free up some space pronto: Bad Things happen when a Mac (or any computer for that matter) has so little free space that it can't wiggle its toes.

After doing some quick deleting of some easy candidates (large downloads) I could afford the time to take a closer look. Here's where a brilliant app by the Omni Group comes in called OmniDiskSweeper. This critter does a simple job very well: it tells you exactly where your disk space has gone. Highly recommend it. Oh and by the way, do take the time to check out Omni Group's other products. They're seriously cool people, and do some mighty products.

OmniDiskSweep quickly identified a few candidates that took up a lot of space, and thanks to that I saw I still had a full install of Myst IV Revelations on disk (some 7GB) from my trip to the Gold Coast so deleting that gave me all the breathing space I needed to have a look at the debris.

So now I was faced with an iTunes folder on my internal disk that had many, many more large files in it that iTunes didn't know about. Craaaap...

I decided at that point to just leave well enough alone and leave it 'til morning (cue Chief Wiggum with loudhailer: "Back slowly away from the keyboard and no-one has to get hurt.") Geek that I am, the solution came to me in the wee hours of the morning.

The answer is iTunes itself.

Here's what I did:

1. Hook the MBP up to a drive with lots of space. Enough to take my entire collection. In this case it happened to be my work machine: an old Power Mac G4 which happened to have a large disk, booted into target disk mode. For those of you who don't know what that means, if you boot a reasonably current Mac with the T key held down it suddenly pretends it's nothing more than an external hard disk. Cool eh?

2. Hop into iTunes, then tell it (Prefs->Advanced) that its iTunes collection resides in a folder on said external hard disk. It'll take a little while to update its library database at this point.

3. Move everything iTunes knows about (but critically nothing else!) by choosing Advanced->Consolidate Library. Takes a long while but after this you'll end up with a perfectly accurate file representation of your iTunes collection.

4. Grit your teeth and delete your original iTunes collection!

5. Create a new iTunes collection folder to replace the old one, then do the opposite move, ie. change the collection location (as in step 2) back to the original location and (as in step 3) consolidate the library. Again, takes a long while.

After this, walk away, hands in pockets, whistling innocently. Happy
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What day is it? 21, I think.

Oops, sorry dear readers (yes, both of you) I've been a little slack in keeping up the hen scratchings here. Guess I should put it down to trying to cope/adjust with the whole non-smoking thing. Not that I'm struggling with it you understand, just that one of the challenges is keeping distracted.

The good news is that I've no doubt I can handle this. I've not got close to wanting to go out and buy a pack of cigarettes, and I haven't got overly cranky at work (yet. Happy)

When I walk past someone just lighting up I don't stand nearby and breathe deeply, I just walk by feeling a little pity that they're still a slave to the habit. I'm still hacksawing my way through my chains but I'm on the way...

I've found a few effective techniques that help keep any twinges at bay. First is an obvious one, the most bitey chewing gum I can find, second, vegetables. Any crunchy fresh ones you can get hold of do, but I tend to go for carrots and sliced capsicum. Another really effective one is - believe it or not - old English style pickled onions. You know, the sharp, sour ones that makes delicate petals' eyes water. One or two (or three or four; love them) and I'm one craving spike over.

The really good news is that I'm already noticing real improvements. I can breathe much more easily, my sense of taste and smell are really sharpening up, and I feel I have more energy than before.

I can do this. I must do this. I will do this.
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Day four.

Still going strong here with the not-smoking thing. I'm using patches; I gave up successfully for three years on these previously so I know they work for me. So rather than having to deal with the physical side (receptors roaring "GIMME!') I only have to deal with the mental side, but that's arguably harder. It's an interesting battle: I know I don't want to smoke, and I'm determined to do it, but every now and then an insidious mental whisper prefixes thoughts like "I'll just hop out an have a ciggie before I..." Still, that's to be expected since it's a pretty major change to routine/habits.

The patches are driving me a wee bit batty since they're theoretically slightly more nicotine than I'd get smoking the amount I used to, just have to wait for the body to adjust. Everyone's been very supportive, especially Kathy - thank you all!

...and do you think I could find the image of Krusty the clown covered in patches saying to Sideshow Mel "I think there's a space on my butt"? Happy
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Mephistopheles is not your name.

On the eve of giving up a stupid habit I've indulged in almost my whole adult life.

Mephistopheles is not your name
but I know what you're up to just the same

I can do this

I will listen hard to intuition
And you will see it come to its fruition

I must do this

I will turn your flesh to alabaster
then you'll find your servant is your master

I will do this.

Day One begins now.

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YABAHPD

Yet Another Blog About Harry Potter Day.

K is a big Harry Potter fan, so naturally she'd pre-purchased the latest book months ago, and of course today is the day it's released. So we head to the big smoke (we don't have a local bookstore here) to one of the bookstores, it's about 8:45am (Australia's east coast release time is 9:01am.) Already there's a queue of others all the way around the inside of the shop.

ThiswayArry
This way 'Arry...

Lineup
Arewethereyetarewethereyetarewethereyet...

The shop staff are all in costume and getting into it too, yelling out time calls, walking up and down the queue with lollies for little and big kids alike.

15mins
This is before a small army (okay, about 7) get behind the counter, box-cutters at the ready.


Countdown from 10 secs, it's time. Lots of hooting and clapping, and the army swings into action, unboxing and bagging both editions of the book. About 10 mins later we're out of there with a copy in hand. By this time the queue is all the way out to the mall and then some - and this is just a regional shopping centre, mind you.

Get out of dodge, do shopping for tonight's Iron Chef (Seared rib fillet with green peppercorn sauce - the new griddle's first shakedown!) and return home. Cook up a quick eggs benedict and we're sated.

K is, of course, now in the library reading. I don't expect she'll surface for a while. Happy

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Commit.

Okay, so the countdown is under a week:

Day One begins now.


Time I told you what it's about. One of my many, many character flaws is that I smoke. Aside from a three year break in my twenties I've been silly enough to smoke for pretty much all of my adult life. It's time I changed that. Not just for my sake, but so that K has one less thing to put up with. Happy

The above countdown is for Day One. The day I've planned to be the day I give up.

I can do this.

I must do this.

I will do this.

Wish me luck!
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Interesting read: We Can Hear You Just Fine, it's the Nuclear Missions that Don't Make Sense.

Interesting rebuttal here by Ivan Oelrich of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) to the US Nation Nuclear Security Agency's attempt at justifying ongoing expenditure for nuclear weapons and infrastructure.

Remind me again, which is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons? Oh, that's right...

bomb

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Countdown.

If you've visited my home page you'll have noticed there is a countdown on there. I won't tell you what it's about just yet but I just want it on record that it's not for some terrorist event or anything. Happy

Call it a birthday present to myself/us.
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One of the downsides of happiness.

The other day Chappo said to me 'you don't blog as much as you used to.' And it's true, I don't. Most times these days I do quick hit-and-run blog entries and there's a reason for that.

If you know me at all you'll know that one of my all-time favourite artists is Thomas Dolby, a.k.a. in my books as the Gentleman. Thomas is a very cool chap. I've even had the honour of hosting his email fan list (Alloy) for a while and talking with him. Most commonly known for his 80's single She Blinded Me With Science, he actually did a whole lot more than that. Some very eloquent stuff that I'm sure will feature frequently in my album of the week segment. Anyways the relevant bit is a little side commentary he did prior to one of his tracks on the live CD Forty.

Forty 1
FWIW, I have signed copy 395, my dear friend Robin even did the artwork for this album!

He said "Y'know one of the downsides of meeting the perfect woman is that you have less to write songs about" and that's where I am. Kathy is everything I could want for - wish for - in a partner and I guess that makes me a little less absorbed in blogging.

May you be as fortunate!

Okay, here's your bucket...

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Paging Mr. Peter Richardson...

[this is in case Peter does some ego surfing]

Pete old mate, I don't have your current mobile number or email address. How about leaving one of those when you next hit my voicemail eh? Happy

It'd be good to have a natter, it's been ages, hope you're well bud.

[we now return you to our regular programming...]
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Upcoming feature: Album of the week (AoW)

Talking of music, I think it's time I tried doing a recurring Album of the Week feature.

Going by my 'stuck in the 80's/90's' thing these will not be current releases but more like [DJ voice on] hits that were around when you were closer to the ground! [DJ voice off]

The reminder is set in iCal, so I'll do my best to make this a weekly thing.

Hey, every blogger needs a self-effacing comedy segment. Happy
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Important safety tip, thanks Egon.

No I'm not talking about crossing the streams this time. Happy

As you're probably aware RapidWeaver is my web and blog weapon of choice. It's nimble, intuitive, reliable and very easy to get up and running quickly. This replaced both NVU (a really good open source DreamWeaver-type web page editor) and iBlog which my old, soon to be retired blog was written in.

Had a ironic (in the Alanis Morissette kinda way) moment yesterday with RapidWeaver. Let me just say that focus is a good thing. Focussing on what you're doing is also a good thing. Focussing on what an app thinks you want to do is even better. Especially when you use the delete keyboard shortcut.

Hitting cmd-delete here...

RWgood
Click for the larger version


...is a good thing. Hitting cmd-delete here...

RWbad

...not so good.

Yes, that's right, with one keystroke I almost made an ex-parrot out of my blog. Quitting without saving changes saved me (and I've a pretty thorough backup regime), but it's curious it didn't do the "Are you really sure you want to delete this really major part of your site?" confirmation thing.

Oh and the ironic part? I was writing an entry about backups, and this isn't the first time such irony has hit either. Happy

Update: turns out the blog section is a special case. Cmd-delete will indeed focus on the left side of the window and yes it does warn you beforehand about what it's going to do. Did I mention focus is important?

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and all that... Yazz!?

I used to have quite a record collection in my teens, but when we moved to Aus. in 1986 I had to leave much of it behind, giving them to a good friend (hope you're going well these days Tracy!) but I did keep a few choice items.

Now let me tell you about one of my colleagues/friends. Chappo. He's one of those guys that you pretty much instantly click with. He's about the same age as me and there are a lot of commonalities: life outlook, life values, and music. He has an opinion on everything, will readily call a spade a spade, but will give anyone a fair go. He also appreciates the good things in life that not many these days do, a relevant example here is relishing firing up a good old analogue amp, a turntable, and a good record - as do I. Guess that's one of the reasons we both like Vice City. Good guy. (A cheque will do nicely thanks Chappo. Winking )

Let me also tell you about a curious part of my music collection. Though the vast majority of my collection is CD-based (and therefore iTunes/Mac/iPod-based), I haven't quite been able to part with a box of records from my teenage years. Since I haven't had my turntable connected to the house AV for a long while, I yesterday lent said box of goodies to Chappo for him to have a listen to.

I warned him that my diminished record collection was based on purchase decisions made some 20+ years ago, and thought the following scenario might happen:

4:43pm phone rings, I pick up.

Me: Hello Paul here.
Chappo: a-hahahahaha!

4:45pm phone rings, I pick up.

Me: Hell-
Chappo: a-hahahah!

Well, that didn't happen. Quite. This morning Chappo came into work and said that while a lot of the records really took him back there were a few he chuckled at, but one stood out: The Only Way is Up by Yazz.

Yazz!?


yazz


No disrespect to you Yasmin, I'm sure you're a cool person and I kinda liked the single but I could not think of when I would have felt the desire to buy this record. I really could not recall buying it, it must have been an inadvertent plant from a past life. I kept telling this to the lads, but they kept thinking I was in denial.

I know denial. I have lots of things that go away with it. This isn't one of them.

It's a fit-up I tell you! Happy

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Like a polar bear in a snow storm.

Deliciously wet weather here the last day or so, pelting down. Love it!

I've just one question. Why is it that in heavy wet weather the only drivers that don't turn any running lights on are those that drive silver or grey cars?

Some people just have no clue...
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Bird strike

On the way home the Jade Dragon (it's what we call my car) suffered a bird strike. There I was cruising along the highway at 100 km/h, noticed a bandit bird (a.k.a. a Noisy Miner - can't quite see it there but they're deliciously mischievous birds and look like they're wearing little yellow Beagle Boys robber masks, hence Kathy & I call them bandit birds. Happy ) streaking low over the road about 20 metres ahead. Didn't think anything of it - birds regularly play chicken with traffic here, guess it's something like surfing waves of air turbulence or something. Then *thump* - a blur, then nothing but a wing feather and a slight smear of feather oil left on the the windscreen. Guess he/she didn't see me coming. No place to pull over and see if the bird was all right (the windscreen is at a pretty aerodynamic angle) but I suspect it was an ex-parrot.

Sad

Hey, I know you're probably thinking it's a minor thing but life - living things - are important to me. Call it a latent Buddhist tendency or something. If you don't get that then you're missing an important point.
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These guys are funny!

So you've got 30 seconds, a bunch of bunnies, and a movie script. What do you do? These guys have the answer. Their latest, Die Hard, is one of their best (NSFW for those delicate petals.)
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Bad hair day

From the inane file: Bad hair days. Yes, guys have them too.

Some days you're Spike, some days you're Fry, some days you're Londo.

Hmm. Maybe it has something to do with me barrelling down the highway at 100km/h with the windows down just after putting wax in my hair. Happy
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If countries were people...

New Zealand would be a diminutive well-meaning gentleman, but one who would not take shite from anyone acting unreasonably.
Europe would be a bunch of colourful usually civilised characters, brawling every now and then amongst themselves but not making too much mischief.
Canada would be a charmingly polite and optimistic person who'll give anyone a fair go but wishes it didn't have such an obnoxious rowdy drunken neighbour, but if the neighbour goes too far...
USA would be said obnoxious rowdy drunken neighbour, bullying anyone and everyone who didn't think the way they did.
Australia and UK would be poking their faces out from behind USA doing the Thug Two: "yeah!" thing.

Politics people. Just talking politics. Why, some of my best friends are...
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Blogging is like exercise...

Another blogger (sorry, I'd attrib. if I could find his/her post) I read the other day put it well: blogging is like exercise. You need to do it every day or you'll start to procrastinate and just never get around to it.

Ahem.

So, more frequent updates on the way. Yes, I know, I've promised this before but I can't put it off; I have one-third of my readership (Chappo) sitting right beside me paying me out about being so talkative. Happy
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Three lessons learnt.

A funny thing happened on the way to work this morning. No, I didn't seize another engine, this was just one of those "Whoah! Okay, now I'm awake." moments.

Because both of our cars are getting on a bit (10+ years old) and because it's a good thing to do, I'm trying to get into the habit of checking the vehicles' vital bodily fluids each weekend. This weekend I did so.

Lesson 1: Safety catches on car bonnets are there for a very, very good reason.

Lesson 2a: the force of wind at suburban speeds (~50km/h) going in through the front engine bay vents is not enough to lift a bonnet.

Lesson 2b: the force of wind at highway speeds (~100km/h) is.

Lesson 3: It's quite hard pulling over on a motorway when the breakdown lane is less than a car width wide and is adjacent to a rather steep slippery bank, oh, and other commuters are right up your ass.

Yes, just your average weekday morning heart-starter. Happy
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Lest we forget.

Today is ANZAC day.

The day we pause, remember the sacrifice made by the few for the many. The day when we (for once) stop and pay respect to the acts and sacrifices of these people - our armed forces. Those departed and with us still, put themselves in harm's way for us to this day.

They may have not agreed with the reasons, they may still not believe in the reasons that the government of the day sends them into danger. We may even not agree with the reasons.

But believing or not, brave or not, terrified or not, they go. They risk everything for a cause. Just or not be the reason, they go and they do. Because our government - and in proxy we - ask this of them.

And some are injured.

And some die.

My thanks, respect, and admiration to you, the men and women (and their families) who made/make such a tremendous, terrible sacrifice.
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What I like the most about Big Brother.

The end.

More specifically the second after it's ended. Seriously, what a fracking waste of perfectly good airtime. Is our society that devoid of life that they find it compelling to watch a bunch of self-absorbed, whiny soap star wannabes trying to either out-nice, out-notorious, out-gross, or out-backstab one another? It's just train-wreck television.

But then, maybe I'm just odd; it must rate well because it's starting to air tonight in Oz for the seventh season. Seven. Fracking. Seasons. And Joe/Jill Public still wants more. Sheesh.

Sorry, had to be said...
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Mmmm Sunday morning coffee...

Just sayin' is all.
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Ahh Saturdays...

Saturdays have to be my favourite day - especially since Kath and I get to spend it together.

Sleep in, wake up at your own pace, wonder what to do with the day, relish living where we do, sit out on the back patio reading the paper or a book, giggle as the Rainbow Lorikeets and pigeons posture and squabble over the birdseed. Bliss.

...and of course there is Iron Chef!
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Hello World.

Once again in to the wild bloggie yonder... Read More...
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